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Archive for November, 2013

Novated Leasing: Just WHAT Is It?

Buying a car can be immensely stressful and that’s understandable. Brands, models, features, shapes, ride, how many cupholders…..

Not unexpectedly, how to PAY for your car is one of the biggest contributors to that stress. Sure, there’s piggybanks, loans, lotto wins and then there’s Novated Leasing for those that have an employer that provides a work vehicle.

NovatedLeaseDiagram_Small

Essentially it works as a three way agreement. There’s you. There’s the employer. There’s the financier. You decide on a vehicle, be it new or used. You specify a time you’d like to lease a vehicle for, generally from one to five years. Think of it as a long term lay by. The employer pays for the car on your behalf, in essence, by deducting a certain amount from your wages BEFORE TAX is taken out (also known as salary packaging) and sends that, on your behalf, to whomever the finance company is. This means that you get some benefits. You don’t miss a payment which could happen if you looked after the finance side. By having that payment made before your tax is deducted it also lowers the real amount per year that you get paid by your employer. This, potentially, could put you into a pay bracket where less tax is taken and therefore “raises” your disposable income. Also, your employer is then responsible for the lease obligations of the vehicle, freeing you up for less worry as that payment covers normal costs such as rego, tyres, insurance and more…

One of the things you don’t need to worry about is paying for the GST; that immediate puts 10 per cent of the “purchase price” back in your pocket.  Even better, you DON’T need an upfront deposit and you can choose to change vehicles whilst in the lease period. Another potential saving is if the employer attracts volume discounts, helping to lower the costs.300X25nl0

At the end of that lease term you can then choose to: keep the car and purchase it for the amount left over (the residual) after all lease payments have concluded. At the beginning of the lease a specified price for the vehicle would have been agreed upon and your payments may have added up to a bit short of that agreed price. The leftover, the residual, is what you can then pay to buy the vehicle. Then you can sell the car, if you choose and if you make a profit, that’s yours. Tax free. Naturally you’re also free to refinance and stay with that vehicle OR you can choose to move to another vehicle.

As one might expect with cars and money, there’s some fine print. Should your employ be terminated before the end of the lease, you take on all of the responsibility, exactly as if you’d bought the vehicle privately. Also, there’s three types of novated leasing. There’s novated finance Leasing, where you pay only for the car. A fully maintained lease is when all of the costs, as described previously, are covered, then the fully maintained novated operating lease, where the lease provider also takes on the responsibility of the residual. FBT, Fringe Benefits Tax, is also payable (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fringe_Benefits_Tax_%28Australia%29) however this is best discussed with a financier for your specific situation.

Private Fleet stands ready to assist you with your next vehicle purchase or get in touch with us if you’d like to speak to one of our Novated Leasing partners.

Tyred Out Yet?

They’re the four pieces of rubber that are the most important part of your car as they are the only part of the vehicle that touches the road. Tyres, a criminally underrated part of your chosen chariot, are also responsible for confusion and angst. There’s numbers on the side and people hear about different…things about compounds. Here’s the skinny on what they’re all about.

The numbers: On the sidewall of a tyre will be information about the tyre, with the simplest being something looking like Tyre profilethis: “225/60/17”. Tyres are, naturally, wrapped around wheels. The wheels will have a diameter and in a metric age are still listed by inches. Smaller cars will generally have wheel diameters of 14 to 16 inches, medium cars generally up to 17 whilst large cars can be up to 19 as standard and certain cars can be fitted with up to 22 inch diameter wheels. The tyres then will have that info and will be showing the diameter as the last number. The other two work hand in hand, with the biggest number being the width across the tread of the tyre in millimetres (225) and the sidewall height or profile, from the rim of the wheel to the tread, expressed as a percentage of the tread width. This means that our 225/60 tyres will have a sidewall being equalling 60 percent of the width of the tread.

Tossed into that set of numbers could be something like this: 225/60VR/17.Tyre speed rating For over 40 years, tyres have been constructed in a radial design (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radial_tire) and have speed rating applied to them for certain intended purposes. A V rating permits that tyre to be run up to 240km/h with the R denoting a Radial construction. Although Australia, for example has a maximum permitted road speed of 110 km/h, there are places where a car can be travelling above that limit, such as a race track plus, in a world market, other countries have higher permissable speeds.

Rolling diameterRolling diameter: this is nothing more complicated than how to mix and match tyre and wheel sizes to give, effectively, the same size circle. Let’s use 205/65/15 tyres for a mid 1990s Commodore. The OVERALL diameter is about 647mm. The driver decides to fit some 19 inch diameter wheels; if they were to fit the same PROFILE (65) tyres the overall diameter would be well over 700mm. This is both currently illegal and in real and serious danger of the rubber fouling the inside of the wheel arches plus can give a false reading to the speedometer. Therefore a LOWER profile tyre needs to be used. By using 35 profile tyres (height is 35% of the width of the tyre) the overall diameter is brought back to 647mm. Of note is how a profile can affect the perceived ride of a car; a higher profile tyre will have more sidewall “give” than a lower; think of a well padded cushion versus a slim one of the same material. The tyre and wheel increase can also be known as “plus one/two etc”.

Compounds: rubber can be soft, it can be hard and anywhere in between. Followers of motorsport will be aware of hard/soft/medium compounds being bandied around as easy as we talk about the weather and really, that’s pretty much all this means. Soft tyre compounds will give more grip overall however may wear quicker due to the extra grip, whereas hard compound may not grip quite so well, will last longer and may not give a softer ride. However, there’s a little bit more to it such as where the tyres will be used as weather conditions on a ongoing basis.

Tyre pressures: these can be read as PSI (pounds per square inch) or kilopascals.Tyre pressure Most companies use PSI and it’s and indication of how much pressure is required to stop excessive wear of the tyre balanced against the expected load the tyres will carry (car, passengers and cargo). This information for each car can be found on a placard attached to the car and also on the tyre sidewall. It’s important to have correctly pressure tyres to stop wear either on the centre of the tyre (over inflated) or on the edges (underinflated) plus ride quality and handling can be severely affected

Run flat/spacesaver tyres: run flats are intended to give some measure of sidewall support should the tyre have deflated past its normal recommended pressure for any reason and will allow the vehicle to be driven, to a point, where the tyre can be replaced. Comfort levels are not included as part of the design. Space savers are becoming more and more common, partly to save weight but primarily Space saver tyreto, as the name implies, save space, generally in the boot of the car. They are NOT intended to be used for anything other than to temporarily replace a normal tyre and are an emergency item.

Brands: there are heaps to choose from, such as Bridgestone, Dunlop, Kumho, Firestone, just to name a few; the actual construction quality will be of a higher standard in the better known brands and independent testing tends to show better overall grip and performance levels.

Tread patterns: there’s a couple of terms, such as asymmetric and directional, that catch people. Most “normal” tyres are symmetrical, in that the tread looks the same on the left and right of the tyre and are generally for everyday use. Asymmetrical tyres, generally for performance applications, will have an unbalanced look, for example with an unbroken groove or two one one side and a broken up tread pattern on the other. Directional tyres are akin to an arrowhead patter, with grooves leading from the outside to the centre at an angle and intended to give Directional tyremaximum water dispersion.Asymmetrical tyre

Any reputable tyre fitment centre such as Bob Jane’s or Jax can assist in explaining these in more detail. The humble tyre, more important than you think.

The Global Superstar: The Taxi

The modern world is dominated by technology, corporation and progress; it is situated within the context of world superpowers secretly fighting it out for power and control. However, what overrides all of these thing is the vital need for communication and contact, without which this global society would not be possible. But do not worry, I am not going to launch into a political rant about the capitalist agenda and the weakness of democracy (I am not Russell Brand after all, much as that saddens me to say). Instead, I wish to talk about what began as a small local endeavour has evolved into a worldwide institution. They provide the communication and contact we so crave. Despite their importance, we often take them for granted. And yet, here they remain. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take these few moments to examine the truth behind the majesty of the taxi.

Throughout my life, I have had the privilege of travelling to a wide range of countries, which has meant that I have had the pleasure of riding in a multitude of taxis. These rides have ranged from the normal to the downright ridiculous, but that is for another day. I cannot hide the fact that I am a London boy at heart, and so my life has been dominated by the London Black Cab. Therefore, I shall focus my attention on probably one of the most famous cars on the planet. The Black Cab has been so engrained into British culture that I am surprised it has not yet been adopted into the Royal Family.

The London Black CabAt first glance, this post may appear to be a little random. However, this post was inspired by the results of a recent survey by Hotels.com that revealed a glimpse into how we rank the taxi-cabs of the world. Over 2,600 people responded to the survey from around 30 countries. The results showed that the top 4 taxis were:

  1. London
  2. Tokyo
  3. New York
  4. Berlin

Some of the other statistics to come from this survey include activities that we often find ourselves doing while in the back of a taxi:

  • Texting/ Emailing (19%)
  • Sleeping (15%)
  • Eating (10%)
  • Kissing (9%)

Interestingly enough, it turns out that the British people are the people least afraid of erm… showing affection while in the back of a taxi, with 14% admitting to amorous taxi activity, which says a lot considering the global average is only 4%. What are we like ey?

Seeing as the British taxi seemed to do so well in the survey, the least they deserve is a fellow Brit to further explain their greatness. I mean after all, living in London has meant that I have had the pleasure of getting meet and speak to people from all over the world. Tourists all seem to say the same things when in London:

Buckingham Palace, The Changing of the Guard, The Red Phonebox and of course, the Black Cab.

Tourist AttractionEven though I consider myself a local to these parts, there are even times even now where I find myself in awe of the Black Cab. It is physically, mentally and LITERALLY impossible to go out and about in London and not see a Black taxi. They dominate the cultural landscape of the city. You might even say that they define the very essence of London. London would not be London without them. The only thing that I hold in higher stead than the taxis themselves are their drivers. London cab drivers have attained an international status – they are genuinely some of the most intelligent and insighful people I have ever met. There is very little they do not know about. I mean seriously I have a undergraduate and masters degree in archaeology and I have had a sustained intellectual conversation with London taxi drivers about archaeology which has even tested my knowledge.

It is astounding to be able to get into a taxi in London, reel off a location and the driver will know exactly where you are talking about. Not only will he know where you are talking about, but he will have already mapped about 15 possible routes taking into account distance and traffic. One day I may perform an experiment to see whether a London Black Cab driver is actually better than a SatNav across the streets of the capital. I am willing to put money on the human winning this one. In fact, I have previously personally proven that the human brain can outsmart technology, but that is another story for another time.

Now obviously nothing is perfect, and the Black Cab is no exception. One of the largest complaints that comes with taking these taxis is the ridonculous (yes, that is a word now) cost along with the habit of many drivers to take the ‘scenic’ route so as to make a few extra quid. More worryingly, a few years back when a new model of Black Cab was introduced, they would often well, how can I put this… spontaneously combust. Now I do not know about you but this is not something I want happening to a car that is driving me somewhere. But hey, whatever floats your boat!

Black Taxi Fire

As buses, trains and underground trains have become ever more efficient and used over the years, you would think that there would be a worry that the taxi as we know it may begin to decline. But there is no stopping this beast. The taxi has planted itself in the pages of history and will remain long into the future. Even though in London especially, the Black Cab has come under pressure from the rise of newer taxi companies such as Addison Lee, it has fought them off galantly and will continue to fight on.

Long may they reign!

For more car chat and any questions you may have, follow me on Twitter @lewisglynn69

Keep Driving People!

Peace and Love!

What Distracts Drivers?

There are a number of arguments made in favour of raising the speed limit and not getting too picky about km/h.  My fellow bloggers have explored this topic considerably (here’s one example).  However, the fact still remains that if things turn pear-shaped, less speed means less momentum, which means less force that gets transferred to the occupants of the car.  If all goes well and everybody keeps their mind on their driving, speed doesn’t really matter. The trouble is, people don’t keep their mind on their driving, their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road ahead. They get distracted, and that’s where things start going pear-shaped.

 

According to one insurance expert in the USA, the top ten distractions that contributed to fatal crashes were the following:

  • 1 Generally being away with the pixies, daydreaming or being more interested in your train of thought than the road in front of you (or beside you). This is particularly likely to crop up on long straight stretches of road with monotonous scenery in rural areas, although some people have minds elsewhere even in rural areas on familiar routes. This is something that they can’t legislate against (how on earth could they police it?) and car manufacturers can’t really do anything about either safety-wise.
  • 2 Using cell phones for anything – talking, dialling, texting, listening, going online and checking Facebook…
  • 3 Something interesting outside the window. This could range from stunningly beautiful scenery to the car you’ve always wanted up for sale (did I really read the price on that red Porsche Boxster correctly – I’ve just gotta have another look…).
  • 4 Other people in the car talking to you or otherwise distracting you. It was not recorded how many of those “other people” were children whining, fighting or otherwise throwing a wobbly.
  • 5 Using or reaching for some gadget that you’ve brought into the car – headphones, maps, iPod, etc.
  • 6 Eating and drinking. Again, exactly what was being eaten or drunk wasn’t recorded, but a can of fizzy drink erupting all over you while you’re driving is certainly pretty distracting.  Ditto having a hot meat pie that oozes scalding mince all over your fingers and lap.
  • 7 Adjusting the audio system and/or the climate control.  If you have a front seat passenger, get him or her to do it.
  • 8 Adjusting or using other gadgets that are integral parts of the car (rear vision mirrors, seats, navigation systems, trip computers).
  • 9 An animal moving around inside the car, be it a pet or an insect. Hopefully not a snake that’s decided that the inside of your car is a lovely place to have a quiet rest. It’s best to keep pets confined somehow or else ignore them. Cats should go in a carrier box even if they like riding in cars like one of mine does. Dogs can get harnesses that seat belts can slip through to keep them in place, but these tend to be for medium to dogs – bull terrier and upwards.  The carrying crate is probably best for little dogs as well, although if you have a small yappy dog that hates the crate, the resulting barking in protest is likely to be even more distracting.
  • 10 Smoking – including lighting up and disposing of the butts.  This is the ideal cue for a lecture about the hazards of smoking in general, the specific hazards of smoking inside a car and all the reasons why you should not throw cigarette butts out of the window. However, if I did, this post would triple in length and get off topic.

distraction

A similar list comes from a bit closer to home than the USA.  On the other side of the Tasman, the top ten distractions are much the same:

  • 1 Texting while driving (even though this is illegal in NZ)
  • 2 Reading the newspaper or a magazine
  • 3 Applying makeup, shaving or carrying out other personal grooming
  • 4 Talking on a handheld mobile phone rather than a hands-free one
  • 5 Changing or adjusting the sound system
  • 6 Using the GPS system
  • 7 Eating and drinking
  • 8 Children in the car
  • 9 Talking on the phone using a hands-free kit
  • 10 Billboards, advertising, attractive people and other things outside the car.

But what about us?  I’ll admit to eating and drinking, kids in the back seat (although older ones in the front can be told to take care of the navigation, the sound system and the air-con system), getting away with the pixies and things outside the car.  What pulls your attention from driving?  Leave us a reply with your top distractors.