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Friday, 21 November 2014

Staying Safe whilst Driving in Fog

A few weeks ago, I was on my way home, when my Sat Nav lovingly guided me through a patch of thick fog. I panicked. I was the first in a line of traffic and had no idea where I was. I pulled over to let other vehicles passed and so I’d have something to follow, and they sped off and left me! So you don’t end up in the flap I did (I have since revised my route home!) follow these simple (but hard to forget, as I did!) rules!




  1. Before setting off, clean your windows and windscreen and ensure all your lights are working. Wait until both the front and rear screens have demisted and never attempt to clear them as you’re driving
  2. Ensure you have a coat in the car and at least one piece of hi-vis clothing. Winter breakdowns are all too common and it’s important to be prepared.
  3. Switch on the Traffic Alert function on your car radio. It could prove invaluable when it comes to avoiding winter congestion.
  4. Switch on the dipped headlights and only use front and rear fog lights where visibility is less than 100 metres. Never use full beam: the light will reflect off the fog and decrease your visibility.
  5. Use your windscreen wipers on an intermittent setting to clear the fine mist that collects and use the windscreen washers to clear any build up of winter road grime.
  6. Keep a close eye on your speedometer. Without reference points like buildings or trees, fog can cause a visual illusion and make you think you’re travelling slower than you actually are.
  7. If you do hit a patch of fog, do not hit the brakes hard. Simply ease off the throttle and gradually slow your speed. Braking hard could cause other drivers behind you to panic and brake even harder - pile-ups have been caused this way.
  8. Don’t fall into the trap of using the car in front as a reference point. It may feel comforting to be close to another car in thick fog but it’s a false sense of security. Keep your distance and mind your surroundings.
  9. Equally, if someone if following closely behind you, don’t give in to the temptation to speed up. Stay at a constant speed and drive as fast as the conditions legally allow.
  10. At junctions, wind the window down and listen for traffic. Pull out when you think it’s safe to do so and never hesitate in a position that will put you in the path of oncoming vehicles.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Guest Blog: Carl Starbuck- Carl's Car Cleaning Customs

Carl is a favourite Client of Concept Vehicle Leasing, and one that we have had a fantastic relationship with over the years. Carl leased a Vauxhall Insignia 2.0 CDTi SR VX-Line from us, back in 2011, and is now awaiting delivery of a stunning, new Jaguar XF 2.2D R-Sport Auto. We are honoured to have him write a guest blog on his car washing regime. Thanks Carl for this comprehensive account, and we hope your new Jag serves you well. 




Products:
Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Shampoo
Meguiar’s Ultimate Wash & Wax
Astonish Black Shine Restorer
Astonish Wheel Cleaner
Astonish Carpet & Upholstery Target Spray
A pack of your favourite bacon and some soft white rolls

Kit:
Meguiar’s lambswool mitt
Autoglym synthetic chamois
Meguiar’s lambswool wheel cleaner brush
Grit-guard bucket
Stiff nylon bristle brush




Vauxhall Insignia - Before
We’ve all been there… We started out life cleaning our cars with Fairy Liquid, our mum’s bucket, and a large bath-sponge! Then someone pointed out that household detergents are a bit caustic and not the best thing to wash a car with. So after a trip to the local car shop, we wised up and started giving our cherished vehicle a bit more TLC. For some of us it became a Sunday-morning ritual – updated via discoveries or recommendations of new products or kit. Here’s mine, and I credit my brother, Ian, with introducing me to Meguiar’s car care products. Thanks Bro!

Our personal “fleet” are my Vauxhall Insignia SRi-VX Line and my wife’s Mercedes SLK 250 CDi. Both cars have lovely bodywork and paint and they’re both metallic black. Nothing looks quite as impressive as a shined-up black motor. My other half’s previous car was silver – which looked ok when it was dirty and not a whole lot different when it was clean! If it’s your thing (and am assuming it must be if you’re reading a blog post about car washing), then there’s nothing quite so satisfying as standing back and admiring a shiny motor.

I start out spraying the car wheels with Astonish Wheel Cleaner. A liberal spray loosens up the grime and brake dust, and I leave this to do its stuff while I crack on with the bodywork shampoo. Astonish products are remarkably cheap. Pound stores and places like Home Bargains have these at around a pound a bottle. When you consider they are 750ml spray bottles, that’s great value for the job they do. Astonish also make a “tar and bug remover” – but on reading the label I found that its chemical formulation was the same as the wheel cleaner, so I use the wheel cleaner for both jobs – but do test this in an inconspicuous location before you take my word for it and always read the labels on any cleaning products before use.

I use 2 different shampoos – both Meguiar’s products – and I use them in alternate weeks. My thinking here is that one week I give the cars a good wash with the Gold Class Shampoo, and the next week I add wax with the Ultimate Wash & Wax Shampoo. Twice a year I’ll polish the car with Colour Magic polish, but for me, the washing regime is protecting the bodywork without too much effort. Waxing / polishing is donkey-work and the ideal weather to do it hardly ever happens! I add a squirt of shampoo to the grit-guard bucket, fill with warm water and then soap up the bodywork using the lambswool mitt, coming back to the bucket and loading up with suds for each panel – or half panel in the case of the bonnet and roof.

The lambswool mitt is superb – it makes your hand twice the surface area it would be with a leather, and holds a load of suds. The wool pad glides over the bodywork a treat. The grit-guard bucket is a simple but brilliant idea: A plastic mesh is lifted a couple of inches above the bottom of the bucket. After each panel I rub the mitt on the grit-guard to remove any grit and detritus – particularly after reaching under the sills. This makes the mitt clean again for the next panel and can help to reduce the swirls caused by grit caught in the pile – it also means that the grit settles to the bottom of the bucket and you can’t pick it back up.

When you’ve had a car for a while, you settle into the most efficient way round it after a few washes. Generally for me, its bonnet, wing, door, roof, door, rear wing, tailgate / boot, back, then repeat in reverse on the other side and finish with the nose. Find out what works best for you and your car. It’ll save you 10-15 minutes.

With the bodywork soaped up, I put the mitt to one side, pull out the grit guard, and use the last of the soapy water to clean the wheels and tyres with the Meguiar’s wheel brush, dipping the brush and rinsing in the water 3-4 times per wheel. The brush comes with an extension handle for the “older gent” – but I’m a few years from that and I find that the brush head fits nicely in my hand. The soft wool-tipped bristles do a great job on my alloys. This is the part of the job when the choice of an Insignia SRi VX really makes me smile: 5-spoke alloys with big open spaces between the spokes. The wheels on my next car are going be a pig to clean! Don’t forget the tyres – dip the brush and scrub the sidewalls. 

Now its time to scrub my foot-well mats. I do this with the hard bristle brush, which removes grit and dirt and lifts the pile. If there’s anything ground in I add a spray of the Astonish Carpet Cleaner, which lifts out anything stubborn and also has an added bonus effect: The fragrance of this stuff will freshen the car interior - handy if you picked up a takeaway last night!

While the mats were getting a scrub the bodywork will have drained down nicely, so it’s time to leather it off using the synthetic chamois. I have a bucket of clean, warm water for this, and return to the bucket to clean the leather before wringing it almost dry and buffing up each panel in turn, following the same route as above. If the weather is warm and dry I keep the chamois a little damp to stop it dragging on the paintwork. Don’t forget to open the doors and wipe the surrounds, pillars, and sills, and wipe the interior trim in foot-wells and on seat backs if you’ve had passengers – as well as being a bit more thorough at the driver’s side. Every 3 or 4 weeks, I’ll vacuum the foot-wells.

With the bodywork leathered off, its time for a liberal spray of Astonish Black Shine Restorer on the tyres. 6-7 overlapping squirts on each of my 19” Goodyear Eagles and we’re done. Just let it dry and the rubber will be shiny and black. Grubby tyres let down your efforts on the bodywork, and this stuff is so cheap you don’t need to skimp.

Final job is a wipe of the wheels with the chamois, then a walk-around inspection looking for any “runs” – all cars have spots that hold water and this will now be running down your lovely paintwork! Insignia takes about 40 minutes, under 30 for the wife’s SLK. Job Done.



Now the last bit – fire up the frying pan and crack that pack of bacon – the perfect end to a Sunday morning’s car washing. 

Vauxhall Insignia - After



Wednesday, 19 November 2014

No Time like the Present

Here, at Concept Vehicle Leasing, we're often asked the question "When is the best time to lease a new car?" or "When should I place an order for my new vehicle to get the best deal?"

Well, depending on the chosen manufacturer or model of vehicle, there may actually be little variance in the cost of leasing throughout the year.  However, if you're flexible in terms of your chosen car or van, then it's quite possible that NOW is the best time to secure a cheap lease deal!

Why?

As we head towards the end of a year, Vehicle manufacturers start to try and move stock in order to achieve year end registration targets, and therefore additional discount and support may be available on selected models.  At Concept, we've spotted this trend, and for 2014 this appears to be no different as we have some truly amazing offers available for Contract Hire from now, until the end of the year.

Don't need your new car until 2015?

Perhaps your current lease isn't due to expire until the next registration change in March 2015 - and you're looking to get a new "15" plate.

The time to confirm your new order could still be "now" as for some models there could be a factory order wait of 12 weeks or more.  Plus, with the volume of registrations in the UK continuing to rise year on year, we anticipate a drop in future residual values which is likely to have an impact on lease rates in 2015. 

So in summary, if you are waiting for the right time to secure the best lease deal either in 2014 or for 2015, there's no time like the present!  Contact the Concept Vehicle Leasing team and secure the best deal on your new Business Contract Hire or Personal Car Lease today.

Why wait? We have some great deals available to you today including the fantastic Citroen DS3 1.6 e-HDi Airdream DStyle Plus 3dr, available to lease for only £149.99+VAT p/m and the Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 2WD TDi BlueMotion Tech Match which can achieve over 52 MPG for just £234.99+VAT p/m. Lease for Less Today!




Monday, 17 November 2014

Concept’s Road Safety Week Giveaway!

Road Safety Week was set up in 1997 and has now become the UK's biggest road safety event, involving thousands of people every year. The event is coordinated annually by Road Safety Charity, Brake, each November, and aims to encourage extra diligence by both road users and pedestrians alike and to raise awareness about the part we can all play in preventing tragedies and making the roads a safer place to be.

The focus of this year’s Road Safety Week (17-23th November), is to 'look out for each other' on roads, because a small mistake can lead to big consequences. With a particular spotlight on drivers protecting people on foot and bike by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking twice, taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room. Brake are also imploring people on foot and bike to never take chances, and make sure they can be seen.

To promote Road Safety Week, each day Concept will be asking one question, relating to Road Safety, the Highway code, and essential driving knowledge, to refresh your skills and ensure that you, your beloved vehicle and other road users arrive at your destinations as safely as possible.

Provide us with the correct answer and you could have the chance to win our Executive Winter Driving Pack, worth £49.99. We will be announcing One Winner per Day! Good luck and stay safe!

Concept’s Executive Winter Driving Pack includes;


  • Wind Up Torch
  • Shoe Grippers
  • Hi Vis Vest
  • Travel Mug 
  • Scrapper / Brush
  • Traction Mats
  • 500ml Screen Wash
  • 300ml De-Icer
  • Beanie Hat
  • Hand Warmers
  • Gloves
  • Foil Blanket
  • De-Mist Pad
  • Bug Shifter

Friday, 14 November 2014

Find Your Perfect School Run Car.

The school run is one of those necessary evils that all families have to do. When you have a cargo as precious as your kids you need a reliable and safe car to ferry them around in. So which cars are best for the school run? Let's take a closer look at what you should be looking for.

Size Matters.

Unless you take part in a Car pool, or have a large family, you don't need a huge 4WD or Saloon car just to do the school run. Large 4x4s might be desirable but they are hardly economical, a smaller car is easier to park and much nippier for weaving around parked cars plus it uses less fuel. A smaller hatchback will fit the kids in and leave room for all their school paraphernalia.

The Ford Fiesta has been awarded What Car’s Small Car of the Year 2014 and is one of the main contenders for the school run car.

Most Economical.

Fuel can be costly for a family that has to drive to and from school each day so any car needs to be economical to run. Look for cars that achieve high Miles Per Gallon, such as the Citroen DS3 which can achieve over 78 MPG.

Safety Features.

Taking a little time out to do your research can be very worthwhile. Google the car you are thinking of leasing and check out its performance under the Euro NCAP criteria which awards cars stars for safety records, 5 stars being the highest rating.

Look out for Safety features on your vehicle such as Switchable front passenger airbag (which enables a child seat to be used in the front), ISOFIX Child preparation for Car seats and Seatbelt warning. All of which are available as standard on our Vauxhall Mokka, which was also given a 5 Star NCAP Rating.



All Makes & Models are available at Concept Vehicle Leasing, so contact us today for all your Leasing needs.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

8 Essential Mod-Cons for Your Car.

What mod-cons are essential to you when choosing a car? There's a huge difference between getting from A to B and enjoying a leisurely drive in full comfort. Whilst you are not able to modify your leased car, like the Volkswagen Beetle pictured, some cars come well-equipped as standard, so you won’t even have to spend extra money.





1. Metallic Paint

Ok it might not make any difference to your driving comfort but metallic paint has been a popular option for new cars for over 10 years and can add sophistication and sparkle to your new car. Many of our Special Offers come with Metallic Paint free of charge like this Vauxhall Mokka 1.7 CDTi Tech Line

2. Built-in Sat Nav

Purely for convenience you can't beat a built-in Satellite Navigation system. It's also a better security option as it's less vulnerable to theft and built-in sat navs tend to be more sophisticated than their portable counterparts. Never get lost again with our Renault Clio 1.2 16V Dynamique MediaNav 5-Door Hatchback

3. Heated windscreens

Forget the ice scraper on those cold winter mornings when you can no longer feel your fingers. A heated windscreen will not only melt the ice on the outside but clear up the condensation on the inside too, making it safer to drive. This Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Zetec 3-Door Hatchback comes standard with Ford’s QuickClear heated windscreen.


4. Leather Interiors

A full leather interior isn't just comfortable but it looks the business too. Nothing says luxury and style more than leather seats and this Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 2.2 eD4 Pure 2WD comes with leather in a choice of colours as standard.

5. Bluetooth

Bluetooth has now transformed the car into a mobile office, allowing you to have a conversation without having to touch the keypad on your phone. Once you have Bluetooth you'll wonder how you ever managed without it. Our Mercedes C220 CDi Executive SE Coupe is equipped with Mercedes Bluetooth prep, so you will never miss a business call again, or be able to catch up with your friends and family on your commute.

6. Integrated TV/DVD Players

If you have kids, you'll know how vital in-car entertainment is for those long journeys. You can drive along listening to AC/DC whilst they watch the latest Disney offering in the back. Bliss.

7. Cruise Control

If you do a lot of motorway driving then Cruise control allows you to relax a little and maintain a constant speed. Obviously it's less useful for city driving but for long hauls it can take some of the strain out of those never-ending journeys. Among other great features this beautiful BMW 420d M Sport Coupe comes prepared with Cruise control.

8. Parking Sensors

Perfect for parking in tight spaces, Parking sensors are particularly useful on large cars like 4x4s and will ensure that you won’t cause damage to the car by reversing into others. This Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDi BlueMotion Tech Match 2WD 5dr comes with Parking sensors front and rear, so you are protected all around.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Remembrance Day

The First World War officially ended on the eleventh hour on the eleventh day on the eleventh month in 1918 - Armistice Day. The Two Minute Silence began on the anniversary of Armistice Day in 1919 by those who did not want to forget the millions killed, injured and affected.

Now, generally called Remembrance Day, millions of people stop what they are doing and observe a Two Minute Silence at 11am on 11th November each year in the memory of those who have been affected in all conflicts.

The Royal British Legion is the nation's custodian of Remembrance, ensuring that people remember those who have given their lives for the freedom we enjoy today.

There will be an extra poignancy to this year’s Remembrance Day in Kingston, as four services are held to remember the soldiers who gave their lives.

Services will take place on Tuesday as the country remembers not only the end of World War I on November 11th, 1918, but also marks 100 years since the conflict began in 1914.


The service at Surbiton will take place at the war memorial in Ewell Road from 10.45am to 11.30am, with the parade beginning at the Surbiton Royal British Legion.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Mercedes-Benz Leasing – Owning a Mercedes is easier than you think.

At Concept Vehicle Leasing we offer a number of magnificent leasing opportunities that will allow you to drive your dream Mercedes sooner than you may think.

Mercedes is a Top 10 Global Brand of 2014

Mercedes-Benz are one of the most respected brands in the world – recently named Number 10 in the Interbrands ‘Top Global Brands of 2014’ moving up a place from the same survey in 2013 with an 8% increase in brand value.

The brand’s revitalising itself with a number of fresh new models and innovations as well as raising the bar in delivering premium customer experiences.

Top Reasons to drive a Mercedes-Benz:

1.     It can be cheaper than you think.

2.     The build quality is excellent, inside and out.

3.     Mercedes have a range of Powerful engines in Diesel & Petrol

4.     Low Maintenance costs.

5.     They score well for safety and reliability.

6.     They have a great reputation.

With Concept Vehicle Leasing, we have something for everyone – and with a Mercedes-Benz you are sure to get an Impressive and Luxurious vehicle. Mercedes-Benz has a reputation for producing some of the world’s finest Executive and Luxury cars – so you can be certain that you are receiving a high level of performance and superb finish. 

Impressive & Luxurious with a Supreme build.

Our latest offers and attractive deals are available on both a personal and business contract basis and to help you find your ideal car at the lowest possible price. We have a great choice of models including the E-Class, CLA & SLK.

You could soon be driving a Mercedes-Benz from as little as £240 +VAT per month for the Mercedes-Benz A-Class on a 48 month lease. Are you a Business User and want something a bit bigger? How about the E Class at £328 +VAT per month.

Alternatively, why not look at the Mercedes-Benz SLK Roadster at £249 +VAT per month on a 36 month contract and all offers come with an allowance of 10,000 miles per annum.

Take a look at a selection of some of our attractive offers currently available from Mercedes-Benz leasing below or contact a member of the Concept Leasing Vehicle team in order to let us help you find your perfect match.


* Our Mercedes-Benz agreements are on a 2/3 or 4 Year Agreement, with 3 payments in advance and are for 10,000 miles per annum including Road tax but excluding maintenance. Rates subject to VAT at 20% and all offers are subject to status and availability. You will not own the car.

Friday, 7 November 2014

10 Driving Tips for Wet Weather Conditions


Rain and high winds caused travel chaos this week as the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo passed through the UK.  For drivers, the storm marks the start of the winter driving season, with ice, heavy rain and fog all set to disrupt the daily commute or weekend escape. 

If you hate driving in wet weather, have just passed your test, or just need to revise a few skills then read our tips to help you stay safe and in control on the road.


1. Slow Down!

Wet weather will reduce the vehicle's ability to stop quickly and safely. If you try to brake on a wet road whilst travelling at some speed it might even send you into a spin or skid and you would then lose control of the car. On average you should aim to travel at around a third of the speed limit for wet weather conditions.

2. Leave a Gap.

Don't travel too close to the vehicle in front because wet conditions will increase your stopping distance, so you need to leave a larger gap than you normally would. Rain and spray from other vehicles can also reduce your visibility. Stopping distances in wet weather are at least double that of dry conditions.

3. Check your Tyre Tread.

The legal minimum for tyre tread is 1.6mm around the circumference of your tyre, but this is the MINIMUM. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents recommends that tyres are changed once the tread has reached 3mm. A good tyre tread will increase your grip on the road and help reduce the risk of skids.

                                                                                    

4. Stay in the Middle.

That does not mean you should hog the middle lane, but where it is safe to do so, you should try to drive in the middle of the road, as water tends to collect in pools around the sides.




5. Avoid Braking.

If you are driving at the correct speed and distance, then you should only need to take your foot off the accelerator and gear down in order to slow the vehicle. Avoiding your brakes again reduces the chances of skidding.

6. Recovering from a Skid.

If you do find yourself skidding along the road then remain calm and apply a firm and steady pressure onto the brakes and steer in the direction of the skid.

7. Switch on your Lights

Rain can reduce visibility, so help other drivers to see you and help yourself to see the road more clearly.

8. Don't Drive Through Water
 
You might think that your 4x4 can handle anything but water can cover up more than potholes and flash floods can catch even the most experienced drivers unawares. So stick to main roads and if you can't see the bottom of a stretch of water, then don't guess at its depth, find another way round.




9. Dry Your Brakes

If you have driven through water then the first thing you should do is test your brakes by applying them lightly to dry them out.

10. Stop for Heavy Rain

If the rain is such that your wipers can do nothing about the continuous sheet of water flowing over your windscreen then pull over where you can and wait for it to ease.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Team Concept test out BMW's New 4-Series Coupe

Team Concept has been lucky enough to give BMW’s New 4-Series a home for the last few days, the car certainly made an impression on us! Here are our thoughts about the car and details about the 4 Series in general.









BMW’s New 4-Series Coupé combines Powerful Aesthetics with Sporting Dynamism to create a Unique Driving Sensation. 

The Coupé has a low centre of gravity, 50:50 weight distribution, high body stiffness and efficient engines with TwinPower Turbo technology. The Sport and Luxury models with the SE and M Sport enable numerous options when personalising your BMW 4 Series Coupé, standard equipment is significantly increased and includes Xenon headlights, Dakota leather, Front Heated seats, Park Distance Control front and rear.

Unique Exterior features include the Adaptive LED headlights and indicators. The innovative Air Breathers not only set an exciting design accent but also improve aerodynamics and efficiency.

The car pictured is a BMW 420d GranCoupe M Sport Servotronic Paddle Shift 5-Door Auto. It has a plethora of options, enhancing its style, comfort and practicality. This particular BMW is finished in Metallic Sapphire Black and has Privacy glass. The interior screams luxury with its Contrasting full Coral Red Dakota leather sports interior, Sports seats, Keyless Entry & Go, Push button start and Auto Start/Stop, It is kitted with the latest in BMW Technology including the BMW Infotainment System, BMW Professional Colour Satellite Navigation, BMW Voice activated Bluetooth. It is also equipped with a DAB Digital stereo, Cd player, USB Connector, and a Multi function M Sport steering wheel. 


Comfort and Safety is paramount for BMW with its Air-conditioning, Two zone Climate control, Cruise control, Electric windows/folding mirrors/twin seats inc lumbar/memory drivers seat, Auto closing/opening boot, Heated seats, Front and side airbags and Switchable front passenger airbag, which enables a child seat to be used in the front. Eco Pro Mode, Comfort Mode, Sport and Sport Plus Mode are available so you can tailor the car to your surroundings, in Sport and Sport Plus Mode, you can really feel the car tighten up, which makes for a very exciting drive! Other features include M Sport Suspension, Auto dimming rear view mirror, Brushed Aluminium trim, Split folding rear seats and very generous Luggage space.


The BMW’s exterior is sleek and sophisticated, with features that, not only, add to the overall design but improve safety and practicality. Features on this vehicle include M Aerodynamics Pack, High Gloss Shadow line, Park Distance Control front and rear. Daytime Driving lights, Rain sensors, Adaptive Xenon headlights, Front fogs, 19in BMW M Sport alloys, Remote BMW alarm, This vehicle can achieve over 67 MPG, It has 181 Bhp and goes from 0-60 MPH in just 7.5 seconds. At Concept we have had this vehicle for a week and can say for certain that it is definitely a head-turner and a very powerful machine!



Order your new BMW 4-Series at Concept Vehicle Leasing today. 





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