• Here’s your business, motoring and news round-up for Friday, May 8

Bank of England predicts V-shaped recovery

The car industry’s hopes for a ‘V’ shaped recovery to the economy were lifted yesterday by the Bank of England.

In its first official outlook on the economy since the pandemic, the Bank warned we are likely to see the worst fall in 300 years.

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However, governor Andrew Bailey said although it could take more than a year to recover, the recovery will be steep with ‘only limited scarring to the economy’. Read the full story here.

Lockdown changes ‘small and incremental’

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said ‘any changes in the short term will be modest, small, incremental’ to the lockdown before the PM’s address to the nation at 7pm on Sunday.

Raab admitted there could be minor rifts in efforts to maintain a UK-wide approach to tackling Covid-19 at yesterday’s briefing, with Wales set to announce plans today.

It also emerged the R value – the number of people the average infected individual would spread the virus to – had risen to between 0.75 and 1.0 because of the spread in care homes.

[Yesterday’s briefing, 44s video]

Confidence weak as families sit on their cash

Consumer confidence remains ‘severely depressed’ with households saving more money ahead of the next stage in the coronavirus crisis.

A consumer confidence survey of 2,000 people asked how they feel about their personal financial situation, the wider economy and their attitude towards making major purchases.

While perceptions were mostly negative, people appear to have become slightly less downbeat as the lockdown goes on about their expectations for their finances in 12 months’ time.

Lamborghini’s rear-wheel drive Huracan EVO Spyder

Lamborghini has revealed the rear-wheel drive version of its Huracan Evo Spyder supercar.

The model expands the Huracan range to four, meaning there’s now a coupe and convertible version with all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive.

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The Huracan Evo RWD Spyder uses the traditional naturally aspirated V10 engine, making 602bhp and 560Nm of torque helping it it 60mph in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 201mph.

Retail sales plummet in April

Online sales doubled last month but failed to offset the ‘catastrophic’ loss of sales caused by the lockdown.

April’s BDO monthly high street sales tracker revealed that total like-for-like sales – across both stores and online operations – plummeted 29.6 per cent compared to last year.

Lockdown closures dragged sales down, despite a 109.6 per cent jump in online shopping – the highest increase on record.

Profit doubles for the AA 

Investors breathed a sigh of relief as breakdown specialist AA said it was expecting a milder hit than many had feared from the crisis.

The company said that it expects that this year’s results will only be ‘slightly below’ the last financial year. 

In its annual figures to the end of March, profit before tax more than doubled at £107m on a two per cent increase in revenue of £995m.

Nissan goes large on its electric van

Nissan has introduced the e-NV200 XL which has expanded the standard van’s load space by 90 per cent – but at the expense of, er, its looks.

The supersizing will give businesses the ability to carry larger loads and complete fewer trips. Standing room inside makes loading and unloading easier, too.

The electric van utilises a 40kWh battery and on-board rapid charger, which should help it achieve close to the standard e-NV200’s range of up to 187 miles on a single charge. 

£4.4m Bugatti Divo hypercar configurations

Bugatti has shared some of the bespoke designs its customers have created for the forthcoming Divo hypercar.

The luxury car maker says two-thirds of buyers have specified unique creations for the circa £4.4 million car.

Buyers can visit Bugatti’s headquarters in Molsheim, France, and choose from an almost endless list of colours and materials.

Virgin Media and O2 confirm mega-merger

Virgin Media and O2 are to merge to create a £31bn media and telecoms giant.

Liberty Global and Telefonica – the owners of Virgin Media and O2 respectively – will bring together O2’s 34m customers on its mobile network with Virgin’s 5.3m broadband, pay-TV and mobile users.

The 50-50 joint venture deal, which is expected to close in the middle of 2021 subject to regulatory approvals, values Virgin Media at £18.7bn and O2 at £12.7bn.

Almost a quarter of firms halt trading

Some 23 per cent of UK firms have halted trading due to the lockdown, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The ONS survey on the business impact of coronavirus, for the two weeks to April 19, found the accommodation and food service sector was worst hit, with 81 per cent of firms halting operations, while the arts and entertainment sector saw 80 per cent cease trading.

700,000 credit card payment holidays granted 

Nearly 700,000 payment holidays on credit cards have been granted as part of stop-gap measures to support borrowers whose finances have been affected by the coronavirus.

Lenders have also provided almost 470,000 payment freezes on personal loans, according to the figures from trade association UK Finance.

Interest-free overdraft buffers of £500 have also been applied to more than 27m personal current accounts – both in response to customers asking for it and buffers being put in place automatically.

Prince faces legal proceedings ‘over unpaid ski resort bill’

The Duke of York is caught in a dispute over a Swiss chalet amid reports legal proceedings have been launched against him over an unpaid bill.

Le Temps newspaper said Andrew and ex-wife Sarah, Duchess of York bought the holiday home in the Verbier ski resort for £18.3m (22 million Swiss francs) in 2014.

But the pair did not meet a deadline of paying off a chunk of the sum for the seven-bedroom chalet in December 2019, the French-language daily newspaper reports.

A spokeswoman for the Duke of York said:  “We can confirm there is a dispute between the two parties in this matter.

Yesterday’s round-up: Lockdown to be reviewed; New Lotus models; Musk’s £600m pay day

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