Ralf Brandstätter with Volkswagen ID XRalf Brandstätter with Volkswagen ID X

News Round-Up

May 21: Consumer confidence soars; Indian variant rises; 1-in-4 want an EV; VW’s sporty EV

  • Here are the headlines on Friday, May 21

Time 4 weeks ago

Consumer confidence rebounds to pre-lockdown levels 

Consumer confidence has bounced back to its pre-pandemic level as the easing of restrictions boosted the financial mood of the nation, a long-running survey suggests.

GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index jumped six points to its pre-lockdown figure, making up all ground lost to Covid 19.

The major purchase index, an indicator of consumer confidence in buying ‘big ticket’ items, like cars, is thought to have been helped by consumers beginning to spend savings accumulated throughout lockdown.

Cases of Indian variant up by more than 2,000 in a week

Cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus in the UK have risen by more than 2,000 in the space of a week, according to official figures.

Public Health England said the latest weekly data showed there were 3,424 cases of the B1617.2 mutation – an increase of 2,111 on the previous week.

While most were concentrated in the North West – particularly Bolton – and London, PHE said it was seeing ‘clusters of cases’ across the country. There is growing confidence the vaccines work effectively against the variant.

Wind and rain to ravage UK 

Wind and rain is forecast to ravage the UK on the first Friday that people have been allowed to meet in large groups outside in England.


A yellow weather warning for winds which could cause travel disruption is in place for the south-west corner of England from 3pm on Friday, with 60mph gusts expected on the coast.

Our usual weather report is at the bottom of this round-up.

Quarter of households plan to buy electric or hybrid car in next five years

About one-in-four households plan to buy an electric car or plug-in hybrid in the next five years, according to new research.

But energy regulator Ofgem also found that more than a third of Britain’s roughly 28m households said they were unlikely to get an electric vehicle during that period due to concerns over high costs.

Perceptions that the price is too high, batteries do not offer enough range between charges and the lack of on-street charging points near homes all played a significant part in the concerns on switching, the survey found.

Huge price fluctuations for branded groceries

Shoppers could be paying four times more for the same branded grocery products depending on where and when they shop, according to an investigation.

Which? found Asda had the lowest average prices for branded groceries while Waitrose and Ocado were the most expensive, in a survey of 493 items at six major supermarkets last year.

Panorama interview added to Diana’s fear and paranoia

The Duke of Cambridge has issued a scathing statement criticising the BBC for its failings around his mother’s Panorama interview, which he says exacerbated her ‘fear, paranoia and isolation’.

William said he was left with ‘indescribable sadness’ to know the corporation’s shortcomings had ‘contributed significantly’ to Diana, Princess of Wales’ state of mind in the final years of her life.

An inquiry found the BBC covered up ‘deceitful behaviour’ used by journalist Martin Bashir to secure his headline-making world exclusive interview with Diana.

First-day sales up 25% for returning pubs, bars and restaurants

Sales at Britain’s restaurants, pubs and bars were up by a quarter on pre-pandemic levels as consumers returned for the first day of indoor service following lockdown restrictions.

Average sales at reopened venues were 24.9 per cent higher on Monday than on the equivalent Monday in May 2019, according to data from research consultancy CGA.

Petrol price hits a 20-month high as lockdown restrictions ease

Petrol prices have reached their highest figure in 20 months as UK motorists begin hitting the road following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Data from the latest AA Fuel Price Report shows that more than 2p has been added to a litre in the last month alone, equalling about £1 per tank.

That’s put the average petrol price across the country to 128.43p per litre, the highest it has been since September 10, 2019.

European markets return to gains amid cryptocurrency revival

Europe’s major markets rebounded on the back of a recovery in cryptocurrency and calm over potential inflation rises.

London stocks made strong gains which saw the FTSE 100 close 69.59 points higher, or one per cent, at 7,019.79 yesterday. The German Dax increased by 1.7 per cent and the French Cac moved 1.29 per cent higher.

Yesterday’s Car Dealer headlines you may have missed

American Express fined £90k for unwanted marketing emails

American Express has been fined £90,000 by the UK’s data protection watchdog for sending more than four million unwanted marketing emails to customers.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the firm rejected complaints from subscribers who had opted out of marketing, telling them the emails were servicing communications.

But between June 2018 and May 2019, the ICO identified 4,098,841 that it believes were actually marketing, intended to encourage people to spend using their cards, benefiting Amex financially.

VW CEO shares images of ID X hot hatch concept on LinkedIn

Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter has shared images of a new electric hot hatch concept car on his LinkedIn page.

Called ID X, it appears to be a fun project that was thought up by engineers on the firm’s electric vehicle division. It’s based on an ID.3 hatchback, but uses the powertrain from the ID.4 GTX, which Volkswagen is calling its first electric performance car.

In his LinkedIn post, Brandstätter said: ‘We just introduced the ID.4 GTX. Our first electric performance model is very well received. Even with our engineers – because with it they have discovered the fun of developing high-performance electric cars. And so we just let them do it.’

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More wind and rain

As low pressure translates eastwards, Northern Ireland and western Scotland will have a drier day, albeit windy. Elsewhere, it will continue to be unsettled with strong winds and heavy spells of rain, says the BBC.

Tonight, skies will turn increasingly clear for Scotland and northern Ireland, and it will be cool with northerly breezes. Staying cloudy and windy for England and Wales with spells of rain at times.

As low pressure ebbs away into the North Sea, Saturday will be a calmer, drier and brighter day. There will be sunny spells for many, but some showers are still possible in places.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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