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Generation Z debt fears as Klarna extends buy-now, pay-later credit

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Klarna is extending its buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) credit to all online purchases amid concerns Generation Z will be drawn into debt for everyday purchases.

Bosses claimed the change could provide a serious challenge to credit cards as they do not charge interest or late payment fees.

But campaigners say the products encourage young people to spend more than they can afford.

Klarna lets customers to split payments into three interest-free instalments, or pay in 30 days, and has told retailers deferred payments encouraged customers to spend 55 per cent more

Yesterday Klarna, a successful technology start-up, said customers can now shop at any online retailer. 

Klarna allows customers to split the payment into three interest-free instalments, or pay in 30 days, and has told retailers deferred payments encouraged customers to spend 55 per cent more.

Chief executive Sebastian Siemiatkowski said: ‘Klarna’s solution is a better solution for people because it is free of interest, it doesn’t have additional late fees, so it is better for the consumer.’

The Government has promised to consult on laws, after a review backed a regulatory crackdown. 

A study found more 40 per cent of people who had used BNPL missed a payment. Activist Alice Tapper said: ‘They are not risk-free. They’re a form of credit and there are consequences to non-payment, including debt collection.’

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RAY MASSEY drives the Genesis GV80 sports utility

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First impressions count, and new kid on the car-block Genesis makes an impression with its GV80 sports utility vehicle, which I’ve been test driving on UK roads this week. 

Catch a fleeting glance and you might even mistake it for a Bentley Bentayga SUV, costing up to three times as much. 

Purely coincidental, I’m sure, that the Genesis chief designer is Belgian Luc Donckerwolke, who was previously design director at Bentley. Set up five years ago, Genesis is the luxury vehicle division of the South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group, which includes the Hyundai and Kia brands. 

Order books open officially from July 1, with first deliveries later that month. Available as a five and seven-seater configuration, the GV80 line-up starts at £56,715 for the Premium Line. 

Double-take: The new Genesis GV80 could be mistaken for a Bentley Bentayga

I drove a seven-seater version of the Luxury Line priced from £62,315, but loaded with £15,000 of added extra kit including innovation packs and Nappa leather seats that raised it to a cool £77,485. Still, that’s around half the price of a Bentley Bentayga (from about £150,000). 

Visually, you can’t miss the GV80’s bold crest grille, winged badge, solid stance and double-lined LED quad lamps. 

The interior is impressive, too. Sophisticated with a large dashboard infotainment touch-screen, 12-inch head-up display, cossetting seats and a premium feel. 

Riding on 22in wheels (20in as standard), the willing turbocharged 3.0-litre, 278hp, straight six-cylinder diesel engine linked to an eight- speed automatic gearbox provides spirited acceleration, particularly in Sport mode. 

It achieves rest to 62 mph in 7.5 seconds up to a top speed of 143 mph. Also on offer is a turbocharged, 304hp, 2.5 -litre 4-cylinder petrol engine. 

For long trips, it’s a smooth cruiser in Comfort mode, and you can choose Eco if you are prioritising fuel conservation.  

I even did a bit of unplanned and impromptu grass and gravel off-roading in ‘Terrain’ mode – courtesy of a sat-nav short-cut – and its all-wheel drive coped fine.

You navigate your way around the drive modes via a circular dial. There’s another just above it to find your way around the infotainment system.

It’s practical with flexible folding seats, and buttons which allow you to do it from the rear boot when loading.

Tech features include remote smart parking assist (which lets you control the car out of tight spots while you stand and watch), augmented reality sat-nav, a 3D instrument cluster and head up display, a clever blind-spot monitor that gives a video feed on the dashboard of what’s behind, and a system to detect potholes and speedbumps ahead and tweak the suspension ahead of time to to cope.

Both the GV80 and G80 saloon (on the road from £37,460) – which I also drove and which shares many of the same attributes apart from the specialist SUV elements – have been specially tuned for UK and continental roads, with tens of thousands of miles covered across 15 countries on some of the toughest and most challenging roads, as well as on the Nürburgring circuit. 

More models- including electric – will follow soon. 

The GV80 is also the car in which golfer Tiger Woods had a recent spectacular and well-publicised prang in the US – so good job it has a top five-star safety rating. 

With its first ‘studio’ showroom in West London’s Westfield Shopping Centre now open, order books open officially from July 1, with first deliveries later that month.

Genesis promises a ‘no pressure, no stress’ sales approach, a largely female staff of ‘personal assistants’ with travel industry service and luxury goods experience, a ‘we come to you’ sales policy and five-year care plan with home or office delivery and collection, transparent pricing, no haggling or discounting, that ‘removes the need to visit a dealer ever again’.

Engines for the G80 saloon in the UK are the 2.5 litre 4-cylinder 304 horse-power single turbo petrol and a frugal 2.2 litre 4-cylinder diesel.

A 3.5 litre 375hp V6 petrol engine – offered in some markets – is not planned for the UK market for either model.

Also coming down the line is G70 shooting-brake designed specifically for Europe and expected later this year.

Three electric cars will also arrive within the first year. The first will be an electric version of the G80 which had its world premiere at the Auto Shanghai with prices estimated at around £60,000.

A further two battery electric cars – one built on a dedicated electric platform – will also be launched within the first year in Europe as part of the product roll-out.     

Imitation?: The real deal Bentley Bentayga is a league beyond the new Genesis GV80 in terms of luxurious quality and performance

So is this a Korean copycat ‘Bootleg Bentley’? 

To be fair, the real deal Bentley Bentayga is a league beyond the new Genesis GV80 in terms of luxurious quality and performance. 

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Bentley chaps in Crewe should feel flattered by the Genesis GV80’s impressive homage to their skills. 

‘Rusty’ driving ability concerns 75% of motorists

Three-quarters of motorists are nervous about other people’s ‘rusty’ driving ability after many stopped driving during lockdown, says a poll by comparethemarket.com. 

More than a third (36 per cent) are even nervous about their own ability after a long period of absence behind the wheel. 

Driven to distraction: More than a third of drivers are nervous about their own ability after a long period of absence behind the wheel

Younger motorists are the most worried about returning to driving, with more than eight in ten (84 per cent) of those under 25 concerned about other drivers and more than half (55 per cent) nervous about their own driving ability. 

Londoner Grace Gausden, who’d not driven for five years since passing her test, took a two-hour refresher course offered by NFU Mutual with specialists Drive Doctors. 

RED, AA and BSM also offer courses.

Encouraging news for women in motor industry

The motor industry needs more women in senior roles, but here’s some encouraging news: Alison Jones, UK manager and a global senior vice-president for new mega group Stellantis, has just been recognised as an ­Outstanding UK Leader in Autocar’s annual awards. 

‘Decisive leadership’: Alison Jones is the UK manager and a global senior vice-president for new mega group Stellantis

She took up the role in March, overseeing the operation of brands such as DS, Peugeot, Citroen, Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Jeep. 

The magazine praised her ‘­decisive leadership…through the challenges of Brexit, Covid and the merger with FCA to form Stellantis’. 

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This post first appeared on Daily mail

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Online cycling store Wiggle set to list on US stock market

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Online cycling store Wiggle is set to list on the US stock market, after being snapped up by a German rival. 

The firm, which traces its roots back to a Portsmouth bike shop called Butler Cycles, is being bought from its private equity owner Bridgepoint by Signa Sports United. 

Hot property: Wiggle – which once sponsored the UCI women’s professional cycling team led by Rochelle Gilmore (pictured) – is now the world’s second largest online cycle retailer

Signa plans to merge with US special acquisition company (Spac) Yucaipa Acquisition Corporation, to give it a New York listing. Spacs have become popular as investors look to put their money to work. 

Yucaipa is led by Ron Burkle, the US billionaire behind the Soho House chain of private members’ clubs. 

The deal will value Signa and Wiggle at a total of £2.3billion. 

Wiggle – which once sponsored the UCI women’s professional cycling team led by Rochelle Gilmore – is now the world’s second largest online cycle retailer, selling brands such as Oakley and Rapha. 

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MARKET REPORT: Investors create hot demand for Chrysalis

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Investors looking for tech unicorns created hot demand for Chrysalis Investments. 

It was listed in 2018 with the aim of buying into fast-growing tech firms before they hit the stock market. The fund is managed by Richard Watts and Nick Williamson, previously best known as smaller company fund managers at Merian Global Investors, and the track record is impressive. 

The firm has steadily built up holdings, including hotel website Secret Escapes, chip company Graphcore, Matthew Mouldingrun THG – which listed last year – and challenger bank Starling. 

But perhaps the jewel in the crown could yet be Klarna, the Swedish buy now, pay later payments company, which is worth £32billion after the firm raised £452m of new money from Softbank earlier in the week. 

Chrysalis owns 1 per cent of Klarna, whose boss Sebastian Siemiatkowski has hinted that the firm is eyeing a float in New York or London. 

Meanwhile another investment Embark Group, an online retirement provider, has been approached by Lloyds about a £400m takeover. The two exits would mean a potential windfall for Chrysalis and its investors. 

Conor Finn, analyst at Liberum, said: ‘We expect this to be the last private funding round before Klarna seeks a public listing in the next 12-18 months. Embark is close to being sold.’ Chrysalis shares rose 5.2 per cent, or 11p, to 221p. 

On the FTSE 100 mining stocks were leading the charge as investors took the view that surging inflation in the US could be due to one-off factors. 

As a result, the world’s two largest economies are expected to ‘run hot’ for some time yet without Central Bank intervention. This is good news for London’s listed miners whose major customers are in China. 

Thanks to this, Glencore was up 2.9 per cent, or 9.2p at 329.1p, Antofagasta added 2.1 per cent, or 32.5p to reach 1529p and Anglo American rose 1.5 per cent, or 47.5p, to 3147p. 

Betting firms were also making gains as the Euro 2020 championships kicked off. The pre-tournament favourites are France, although many punters believe England have a chance. 

Entain was up 2.2 per cent, or 38.5p, to 1803.5p. But there were some notable fallers, including events firm Informa which lost 2.6 per cent, or 14.6p, to close at 543.2p. Informa’s price target was slashed by analysts at JP Morgan to just 494p as doubts lingered over the future of events next year as the coronavirus disease continues to mutate. 

Overall the premier index gained 0.7 per cent, or 45.88 points, to close at 7134.06. Further down the market and Robert Walters has continued to see good progress in the last couple of months. 

In a very short statement to shareholders, the recruitment company said it expected to do well this year and will beat expectations. Shares rose 1.7 per cent, or 12p, to 706p. 

Naked Wines was also having a busy session. With pubs shut for much of the year, online drink orders have soared. Bosses at the home delivery business said sales in the 12 months to March 29 jumped 68 per cent to £340.2m. 

But despite the boost, losses widened as the company focused on expansion to tap into the growing market. Losses hit £10.7m compared to £5.4m a year earlier. 

Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said: ‘It is a surprise that losses actually increased slightly, given new customer acquisition costs, but investors will be reassured to hear that sales are still increasing.’ Shares fell 9.8 per cent, or 78p, to 715p. There was also a fresh float for investors to digest. 

Seraphim Space – an investment fund that hopes to make money from the booming space industry – said it will IPO on the stock exchange at a £250m valuation. 

The listed vehicle will raise £150m in fresh capital.

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