It’s been a busy year here at T W White & Sons; new car launches, showroom redevelopments, and more. So before we head into 2018, here are our highlights of 2017.
Four new cars for 2017
Never one to waste time, Suzuki started 2017 with the launch of the city-sized SUV Suzuki Ignis. The quirky supermini, which was launched on 2nd January, was a hit with critics and customers alike. It was praised not only for its distinctive, retro styling but also it’s practical versatility and fuel efficiency. And if the continuous stream of positive short- and long-term reviews wasn’t testament enough for the success of the Suzuki Ignis, it was awarded the Compact Car of the Year award at the Scottish Car of the Year Awards.
Mazda MX-5 RF
Just shy of two years after the launch of the next generation Mazda MX-5, Mazda released the latest iteration of its hard-top counterpart in the form of the Mazda MX-5 RF in March. Unlike previous generations, the MX-5 RF is not simply a case of replacing the soft-top with a hard-top. The ‘retractable fastback’ sets itself apart as its own model with its distinctive styling, with the rear pillars remaining while the top is down. The RF was an immediate hit, offering the hard-top practicality that many had been waiting for since the launch of the MX-5 in 2015.
Following on from the success of the Ignis, Suzuki once again proved their mastery of small car design with the next generation Suzuki Swift in April. As one of the most iconic vehicles in the Suzuki range, the new Swift took everything we loved about the outgoing model and refined it. An improved interior, more efficient engine and more aggressive, striking design has been warmly received by everyone who’s driven it. It has also won two awards for its incredible real-world efficiency.
In a world which is becoming increasingly dominated by larger cars, the SUV segment has become highly competitive. But Mazda’s innovative technology and eyecatching KODO: Soul of Motion design has meant the new Mazda CX-5 has not only continued the success of its predecessor but built on it. Since its launch in July, reviewers have praised it for its premium feel, noting that it punches well above its weight without the premium price tag.
2017 Tokyo Motor Show
Celebrating their centenary, Suzuki brought a wide range of concept cars to the Tokyo Motor Show. The Japanese manufacturer was keen to show off their vision for the future, in particular, the futuristic four-wheel drive e-Survivor. While the e-Survivor is full of the latest in technology, including cameras instead of wing-mirrors and self-driving functionality, it also maintains some retro styling that can be found across Suzuki’s four-wheel-drive range.
It was Mazda who stole the show at Tokyo with their concept cars. The Vision Coupe represents the design vision of Mazda’s next-generation models, while the Kai concept was dubbed their ‘product’ concept, and featured Mazda’s incredible compression based SKYACTIV-X engine. Many have speculated that the Kai concept might the foundation for the next generation Mazda 3.
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Mazda sales returned to Weybridge in 2017
This year saw the return of Mazda new car sales at our Weybridge branch. The Weybridge showroom, which switched from dual Mazda/Hyundai sales to sole Hyundai sales in 2011, has returned to representing Mazda new and used car sales following the Japanese manufacturer’s continued growth and success in the UK market. But rest assured, we will still continue to provide fantastic aftersales service to our Hyundai customers at our Byfleet aftersales site.
Orpington redevelopment finished
Our Orpington showroom underwent a complete redevelopment, which was finally completed this year. We’re thrilled with results, with the new design allowing us to provide a comfortable and modern experience for our customers. The redesign includes a modern customer waiting area with tea and coffee facilities, free wifi, power points and comfortable seating. Since the redevelopment, we’ve had fantastic feedback from customers, and we’re thrilled to hear that the it has improved the customer experience.
KidsOut 2017 Giving Tree gift appeal
This Christmas we teamed up with children’s charity KidsOut to participate in their annual Christmas Gift Appeal, the Giving Tree. We’re so grateful for the generous donations from customers and staff alike and are glad to be able to bring a bit of Christmas joy for children displaced during the festive season who may not have received any other gifts.
Motoring regulation changes
VED changes in April
Vehicle Excise Duty, more commonly known as Road Tax, was overhauled in April 2017. Rather than a tiered system based on the car’s CO2 emissions, a flat rate of £140 a year was introduced to the 2nd year onwards. The system was changed to account for the ‘unsustainability’ of the previous system, but has been widely criticised for the potential negative environmental impact, as the new system no longer incentivises buying low-emissions vehicles.
Driving test changes
December saw the introduction of a modified driving test. Gone are the traditional manoeuvers and pre-exam questions. Instead, learner drivers are expected to perform “real world” manoeuvers, answer maintenance and safety questions on the move, as well as complete a 20-minute independent driving section which could include following a sat nav. The changes have been made to align the test more with the reality of modern driving, however, it has been criticised by driving instructors for the inclusion of a potentially dangerous manoeuvre that they argue goes against the highway code. The test has also come under fire from driving testers, who claim the increased length of the test demands they work longer hours for the same pay.
In a year that has seen diesel vehicles directly in the line of fire from politicians, London Mayor Sadiq Khan introduced an additional surcharge to the congestion zone for vehicles that do not meet Euro-4 emissions standard. The T-Charge was introduced in an attempt to improve the air quality in the capital, which has been linked to thousands of premature deaths each year. However, the surcharge has been criticised for doing “too little” to tackle the growing health crisis.
Autumn budget targets diesel
News of a further blow came to diesel buyers in 2017 with the announcement of increased first year VED charges for diesel vehicles. The changes will apply to new diesel cars registered from 1st April 2018. The changes have come under criticism from the motoring industry, who argue it will simply discourage people trading in their older, more polluting diesel vehicles for newer cleaner ones for fear of being hit by the VED increase.
Things to look forward to in 2018
It’s been an exciting year for the motor industry, with the above being just a highlight of the year’s news. And there’s already plenty to look forward to next year!
Suzuki Swift Sport
Debuting at Frankfurt Motor Show, the Suzuki Swift Sport. The highly anticipated hot-hatch will be hitting the UK market in Spring 2018.
The record-breaking Mazda MX-5 will be adding a new Limited Edition to its range in March 2018 with the MX-5 Z-Sport. Featuring a striking cherry red canopy and machine grey metallic paint, it’s sure to stand out from the crowd.