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June 12: Lockdown lifting delay likely; Delta cases double every 4.5 days; Hottest day of the year; Queen’s quip – Car Dealer Magazine

Johnson poised to delay Covid lockdown lifting to July

Boris Johnson looks set to delay the final lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England following another sharp rise in cases of the Delta variant.

Ministers are considering putting back the relaxing of controls planned for June 21 for up to four weeks as they race to roll out the vaccine to younger age groups.

A final decision is expected to be taken tomorrow ahead of a formal announcement by the Prime Minister at a news conference the following day.

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Delta variant cases doubling every 4.5 days in parts of England

Cases of the Indian variant are estimated to be doubling every four and a half days in parts of England, new data suggests.

Public Health England said that 42,323 cases of the Delta variant have been confirmed in the UK, up by 29,892 from last week.

Growth rates for Delta cases are high across all parts of the country, it added, with regional estimates for doubling time ranging from 4.5 days to 11.5 days.

Football fans to enjoy hottest day of year as temperatures approach 30C

Football fans will enjoy the hottest day of the year so far this weekend, with temperatures hitting highs of 29C (84.2F).

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The mercury will soar on Sunday afternoon, just as England take on Croatia, potentially making it the warmest June 13 on record.

Parts of the UK will be hotter than holiday destinations in Ibiza, Mykonos and even California due to a high pressure moving in from the south. 

Covid-19 vaccine pioneers celebrated in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

The life-saving work of Covid-19 vaccine design and delivery is celebrated in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, with a host of awards going to the experts who transformed the UK’s pandemic response.

Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine mastermind Professor Sarah Gilbert and the ex-chair of the UK vaccine taskforce Kate Bingham are both recognised with damehoods.

Elsewhere, Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling is made an MBE for services to racial equality in sport amid controversy over England fans booing players taking the knee.

Road safety campaigner dedicates MBE to son who died in smart motorway accident

A road safety campaigner has dedicated her MBE to her eight-year-old son who was killed in a smart motorway collision.

Meera Naran said the first person she wanted to tell about her award was her son, Dev, who died after a lorry struck his grandfather’s Toyota Yaris on the M6 in May 2018.

Naran, from Leicester, has been awarded an MBE for her services to road safety after playing an instrumental role in the development and adoption of the government’s £500m 18-point road safety plan for smart motorways.

Former Lloyds boss knighted after turning around bank’s fortunes

The former boss of Lloyds Banking Group who steered the lending giant back into private ownership after its financial crisis bailout has received a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Antonio Horta-Osorio is recognised for his services to the financial sector, as well as his voluntary work for mental healthcare and culture.

Friday’s Car Dealer headlines you may have missed

Queen’s quip puts G7 leaders at ease at evening reception

The Queen has asked the question possibly on the mind of every G7 world leader – ‘Are you supposed to be looking as if you’re enjoying yourself?’

Known for her wit, used to put nervous guests at ease, the Queen’s quip came as presidents and prime ministers smiled for the camera during a photo after an evening reception.

The Queen hosted an open-air reception at the Eden Project in Cornwall and was joined by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Parkrun events scheduled to return in England from June 26

Parkrun events could return in England from June 26, the organisation has said.

The free 5k Saturday morning event was due to restart on Saturday June 5, however parkrun said only about 250 of the 589 venues which had previously hosted the events had given permission for them to return.

But the organisation said yesterday that more than 500 events now have ‘full landowner permission to return’ before the end of the month.

Lawgistics on the Car Dealer Podcast

Sajid Javid seeks to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18

The legal minimum age to get married in England and Wales could be raised to 18 under backbench legislation being tabled by former chancellor Sajid Javid.

Javid said he will be introducing a private member’s Bill next week to protect vulnerable teenagers from religious and cultural pressures to marry too young.

Currently 16-year-olds may marry if they have the consent of their parents.

Holiday prices slashed in amber destinations

Holidaymakers can make huge savings if they choose a destination on the government’s amber list, new figures show.

Average prices for breaks in Portugal in July or August fell by 64 per cent in the week after the government moved the country from green to amber.

Seven-night family package breaks during the school holidays are available from as little as £180 per person. People returning to the UK from amber destinations must self-isolate at home for 10 days and shouldn’t be travelling there for holidays.

Lockdown easing sees economy grow

The easing of lockdown restrictions in April helped the UK economy grow at its fastest rate since July 2020.

The Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product was up 2.3 per cent in April although it remains below pre-pandemic levels. In July last year the economy grew 7.3 per cent.

Non-essential retailers, including car dealers, drove much of the growth as they welcomed customers back into stores from April 12 in England, with clothes stores seeing a boost of 69.4 per cent.

Heathrow passenger numbers 90 per cent below pre-pandemic levels

Heathrow’s passenger numbers are languishing at 90 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, the UK’s busiest airport said.

Just 675,000 people travelled through the west London airport last month, compared with 6,769,000 in May 2019.

Naked wines’ sales fizz as alcohol home deliveries soar

With pubs shut for much of the year, online drink orders from Naked Wines have soared, the company has announced.

Bosses at the home delivery business said sales in the 12 months to March 29 jumped 68 per cent to £340.2m.

But despite the boost in sales, losses widened as the company focused on expansion to tap into the growing market. Pre-tax losses hit £10.7m compared to £5.4m a year earlier.

Halfords set to see profits almost double as public transport ditched for bikes

Halfords’ profits are set to almost double for the past year after people shunned public transport in favour of bikes and cars during the pandemic.

The cycling and motoring specialist is set for another bumper trading announcement when it updates company shareholders on Thursday.

It is expected to reveal a pre-tax profit between £90m and £100m for the year to the end of April. The bumper profit, which will also take into account the £10.7m it is repaying in furlough, compares with a £52.6m profit for the previous year.

FTSE climbs to month high after rebound in UK GDP

London’s markets made a strong finish to the week as the FTSE 100 floated to a month high after traders welcomed evidence that the economy rebounded in April.

The FTSE 100 closed 45.88 points higher, or 0.65 per cent, at 7,134.06 yesterday.

The German Dax increased by 0.78 per cent and the French Cac moved 0.83 per cent higher.

McLaren Racing set to enter Extreme E in 2022

McLaren Racing has announced that it will be fielding a car in next year’s Extreme E event.

The electric off-road series ‘aims to use racing to promote sustainability and diversity’ while highlighting the effects of climate change on some of the world’s most remote environments.

McLaren’s decision to enter the series ties in with the firm’s own sustainability plans, which have seen it commit to reducing its carbon emissions.

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Sizzling summer weekend 

Today, England and Wales will have plenty of sunshine, says the BBC. Eastern Scotland will be partly cloudy and dry. Elsewhere, it will remain mostly cloudy with the chance of the odd spot of rain.

Tonight, cloud is expected to thicken across the Northern Isles and north-western areas, with patchy drizzle in western Scotland and rain in Shetland. Elsewhere will continue dry with clear spells.

Tomorrow, it will be dry and sunny for most, but a band of rain will push into far northwestern areas. Very warm and humid across much of England and Wales.

Electric Vehicle Orders Are Zooming at Ford

Ford Motor Co. nearly tripled its electric vehicle sales last month, according to a company report.
The auto giant increased its EV and hybrid sales this May by 184% compared to May 2020, marking a record number of 10,364 EVs sold in a given month, t…

UK’s rarest cars: 1986 Yugo 45 Convertible, the sole survivor on British roads

Back in 1986, the 45 Convertible seemed the perfect choice for motorists of a limited budget with a desire for open-air motoring. Placing an order would also guarantee certain exclusivity as the Blackpool firm Top Hat converted only five standard Yugo hatchbacks for open-air motoring – and today, Liam Griffin owns the sole roadworthy survivor.

Zastava (translated as Flag) of the former Yugoslavia commenced its British operations in 1981, 28 years after it had signed a licence agreement with Fiat. In 1971 it introduced the 128-based 101 Slaka, while the 1980 Koral 45/55 combined the floorpan of the Italian giant’s 127 with new three-door bodywork.  

UK imports began in 1983, and one significant sales factor was its appearance as the 45/55 looked far more contemporary than other Eastern Bloc imports such as the Lada Riva and the FSO 1300. The Yugo, as British-market cars were eventually known, appealed to drivers who might have considered a stripped-out Ford Fiesta Popular. By contrast, its Polish and Soviet rivals harked back to when The Monkees topped the Hit Parade. 

Motor tested the bottom-of-the-range 45 in 1985 and thought it “upstaged by the only slightly more expensive Fiat Panda”. In reality, most customers would have been more impressed by a hatchback with a rear wiper as standard, despite a price of £3,099 – nearly £300 cheaper than a Mini City E. In the following year, the same title thought the flagship 55 GLS “a good small car” but asked: “Would you be seen in one?”

UK’s rarest cars: 1986 Yugo 45 Convertible, the sole survivor on British roads


The conversion was carried out by a Blackpool-based firm but few were ever produced

The apparent response was an advertisement boasting “30,000 other people have an eye for a bargain too” and by 1987 the UK had become Zastava’s second-largest export market. 

A drophead version seemed a logical move, and the factory-approved conversion was billed as “striking” and “by far the best value convertible available in Britain today”. In other words, an open-topped 45/55 put Yuppie style within reach of consumers with VW Golf GTI Cabriolet dreams but a Yugo bank balance. 

UK’s rarest cars: 1986 Yugo 45 Convertible, the sole survivor on British roads


You have to admire Zastava’s boldness in introducing a convertible version of its smallest car

Unfortunately, potential buyers remained unconvinced. Zastava GB commissioned six for the 1988 NEC Motor Show, but they proved too expensive to attract much interest. Griffin’s H-registered example left the factory in 1986 but stayed in Barry Hathaway of Chelmsford’s showroom for several years. Griffin points out that when his Yugo was finally registered in June 1991, the 45/55 had been facelifted, so the dealer had to re-badge it as a Tempo L. 

Zastava went on to produce an in-house Cabriolet; there is believed to be one right-hand-drive survivor[2].  Yugo imports ceased in 1993 due to the UN sanctions on Serbia, although local production continued until 2008.

Griffin became this Top Hat Convertible’s second owner in September 2012, and at that time it languished in a garage somewhere in Essex, having covered a mere 8,800 miles from new. 

UK’s rarest cars: 1986 Yugo 45 Convertible, the sole survivor on British roads


Basic is the word that springs to mind for this Yugoslavian-produced car, although contemporary mainstream British and European products weren’t a great deal better

The 160-mile journey home to Wiltshire proved memorable, Griffin recalling “the rear screen coming loose from its Velcro fastenings whenever a lorry overtook me”. He discovered a holed fuel tank at a service station while the alternator decided to take early retirement. The 45  received a bump-start from other motorists and an AA patrolman who planned to list the Yugo on the Association’s “Board of the Unusual” breakdowns, joining such illustrious names as Bugatti.

The 45 is now in sterling condition, and it proved a major attraction at the 2019 Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional[3] for mundane motors. Griffin regards the performance from the 903cc engine as excellent, and he also enjoys dispelling “Yugo durability myths”. 

However, Top Hat’s work was not entirely flawless, with access to the luggage compartment via folding the rear seat backrests as there is no outer lid. Griffin notes, “there is still switchgear for the non-existent heated rear window and rear wash/wipe”.

UK’s rarest cars: 1986 Yugo 45 Convertible, the sole survivor on British roads


Although the Yugo seated four, there was no boot lid so access to the luggage space was via the folding backs of the rear seats

Perhaps the Convertible should be filed under the category of “Bold Experiments”. Yugo’s British publicity seemed to specialise in utter naffness[4], which almost certainly harmed the drophead’s sales prospects. 

Griffin finds that the sight of his car at shows frequently evokes “giggles and references to teachers having owned one”. But only a few could aspire to drive the likes of this ultra-rare Yugo – to quote the brochure, it was “Today’s Supermini with its top off”.

Thanks to: Liam Griffin

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References

  1. ^ UK’s rarest cars feature at The Classic at Silverstone this summer (cf-particle-html.eip.telegraph.co.uk)
  2. ^ there is believed to be one right-hand-drive survivor (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  3. ^ 2019 Hagerty Festival of the Unexceptional (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  4. ^ Yugo’s British publicity seemed to specialise in utter naffness (www.youtube.com)
  5. ^ 100 best cars story embed (cf-particle-html.eip.telegraph.co.uk)
  6. ^ visit our Advice section (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  7. ^ here (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  8. ^ here (www.facebook.com)
  9. ^ A-Z Car Finder (www.telegraph.co.uk)