• New car registrations were up 57.6 percent on a weak 2008 to
158,082 units in November, in line with November 2007 volumes. The
year-to-date registrations however, were down 8.8 percent at
1,844,063 units but the full-year market likely to exceed 1.98
million units. Scrappage accounted for 21.6 percent of all new car
registrations in November. Business, fleet and private sales
increased in the month with private up 141.2 percent.

“The increase in new car registrations in November
reflects the positive impact of the scrappage incentive scheme,
customers avoiding the VAT increase in January and the very
difficult conditions we experienced a year ago,” said Paul Everitt,
SMMT chief executive.

The SMMT expects new car sales to fall to 1.8
million in 2010, their lowest level in a decade.

• The majority of dealers (59 per cent) think car
retailing will not pull out of recession until 2011 at the
earliest. That is the main finding of the Retailing in the
Recession Survey carried out by Baker Tilly in October.

• The number of dealers going bust has doubled in
the past year, according to a report by accountancy firm Ernst
& Young. It also shows significantly lower profit margins than
in the nineties: the UK’s top 25 dealers reported 7.1 percent
earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in
1989-1990 and only 3.1 percent in 2006-07.

• Business owners in the automotive sector believe
the recession has another year or more to run. The latest quarterly
survey of more than 1,000 businesses, carried out by Clifton Asset
Management, reveals 28 per cent of firms have cut jobs over the
past six months, down from 34 per cent in the last survey.

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• GM has announced it will add a third shift at its
Ellesmere Port plant as part of the carmaker’s major restructuring
plans for its European operations. The carmaker said the
consultation process with each individual manufacturing plant in
Europe has begun. This process will continue over the next month to
finalise details of the future plan for Opel/Vauxhall across

• Koenigsegg, the Swedish specialist performance
carmaker, has pulled out of its agreement to buy Saab. The
announcement is a significant disappointment for Saab’s GM parent
which is currently in the throes of restructuring its European
operations after it recently pulled out of a deal to sell its
Vauxhall and Opel business to Magna International.

• German sports carmaker Porsche has confirmed it
made a big full-year loss, largely due to its unsuccessful attempt
to take over Volkswagen. Porsche abandoned its long-running attempt
to buy VW, Europe’s largest carmaker, this summer, despite building
a 51 percent stake in the company. Instead, Porsche is set to
become the 10th VW brand under a deal due to be completed by the
end of 2011.

• Access to finance remains a serious problem for
British businesses, according to a new survey from the British
Chambers of Commerce. The BCC survey found 33 per cent of companies
found it difficult to access finance over the last three

• The IMI has been re-licensed as a Sector Skills
Council (SSC) for the motor industry. It is one of 25 SSCs in the
UK that help employers in different industries exert influence on
the UK’s education and skills systems.