Hard Shoulder


A round up of today's other stories in brief

VW offers new winter health check service

VOLKSWAGEN IS introducing several new service offers for its customers, including a winter-tyre offer, free washer fluid for the month of November and a €99 vehicle health check.

Prices for four winter tyres under the offer will average €349 on a Golf, with a €40 fitting charge. VW aftersales manager Alan Bateson says the advice is to change to winter tyres from October to March, when temperatures are below 7 degrees.

The €99 health check includes a full inspection of the car’s brakes, tyres, suspension system, electronics and mechanical parts.

Separately the firm is offering free windscreen washer fluid to owners next month. Bateson says: “We have found that some customers question whether or not it’s okay to use water as a substitute for washer fluid. The short answer is no. Washer fluids are specifically designed to cut through dirt and grime so that you can keep a clear view of the road.” He also said that washer fluids contain a mixture of antifreeze that enables the fluid to operate in sub-freezing temperatures.

VW is also launching a new aftersales smart phone app, featuring details on the owner’s car, the location of nearby service centres and a roadside assistance app that gives precise geographical data of your location should you need assistance.

The German firm admits that in the past there was a perception that its parts were expensive but says that comprehensive price reviews in recent years has led to significant price drops and their parts are now as competitive as mainstream rivals.

BMW’s new ‘4-Series’

THIS IS the new BMW coupé version of the recently unveiled 3-Series. Rumoured to be taking a new 4-Series moniker, it’s the first of several derivatives of the 3-Series platform due in the next few years. A GT version, similar in looks to the current 5-Series derivative, is also pencilled in for launch, along with the expected Touring estate version and a range-topping M3. On this 4-Series prototype, we can make out the shape of the upcoming two-door coupé which should be larger than the new 3-Series and taking several design cues from the 6-Series coupé.

Speculation is that the new 4-Series will feature both two-door and four-door sport coupé variants (as BMW will be doing with the 6-Series as well), to compete against the likes of the Audi A5 range, and there may also be a cabriolet version too.

BMW make authorised return to Maxwell Motors

MAXWELL MOTORS in Blackrock, Co Dublin, has become an authorised BMW dealership once more. The outlet was recently purchased by the Frank Keane Group, which operates another BMW dealership on the Naas Road.

The Blackrock premises had been trading as a used car centre for some time but will now provide official BMW sales and aftersales services. The dealership will trade as Frank Keane Blackrock.

“I have been involved with the BMW brand since 1967 and am hugely excited by this opportunity,” said Frank Keane (right).

John Ives, managing director of BMW Ireland said: “It is great news that one of our key dealer partners is investing further in the BMW franchise. This new dealership will further enhance BMW’s presence in south Dublin.” For the moment it will not retail the Mini brand.

Along with his two BMW dealerships, Frank Keane was recently appointed a Volkswagen dealer for the west of the city.

He is expected to open a temporary VW sales and service outlet in the former White Bishop premises on the Long Mile Road in Dublin 12, with plans to build a completely new premises elsewhere in the west of the city in the coming months.

Gay Byrne reappointed as RSA chairman

GAY BYRNE has been nominated for a second five-year term as Road Safety Authority chairman by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar.

The Minister has also reappointed Myra Garret, Aine Cornally and racing driver Aaron McHale to the board.

There are four new board members; former assistant commissioner with the Garda Traffic Corps, Eddie Rock, rehabilitation medicine consultant and chair of the Medical Board of the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Dr Áine Carrol, Seán Finan and Ronan Melvin.

As part of the reappointment process the nominated chairman is required to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport before the reappointment takes effect. This is due to happen on November 15th.

The remuneration paid to the RSA chairman is €11,970 and the fee for board members is €7,695 per annum.

Speaking to The Irish Times prior to his reappointment he said: “As a country we just drive too fast. We all drive too fast for no reason, it is not as if we are rushing to hospital. We just drive too damn fast.”

He also observed that during his time as chairman “dealing with civil servants has proved to be a patience-consuming business”.