• New car registrations were up 31.6 percent in October to
168,942 units, but year-to-date registrations at 1,685,981 were
down 12.3 percent. There has been a fourth month of growth
sustained by the scrappage incentive scheme. Private demand was up
86 percent in the month, further supporting positive impact of the
scrappage scheme.

“October has seen this year’s biggest monthly
increase in registrations with the successful scrappage scheme
accounting for over 20 percent of them,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT
chief executive.

“We have seen additional demand created by the
extension of the scheme and customers wanting to avoid the VAT
increase planned for January. Encouragingly, there has also been an
increase in demand in the fleet and business sectors, which will be
critical in sustaining recovery next year.”

• Ford has announced that a consortium led by
China’s Zhejian Geely is its preferred bidder for its Swedish car
subsidiary Volvo. The carmaker said it would enter “detailed and
focused” negotiations with Geely, although no final decision about
Volvo’s future had been taken. Geely announced last month that it
was intending to make an offer for Volvo. Geely used to make the
cheapest cars in China, but has been moving towards appealing to
more affluent customers.

• Volkswagen’s chief executive says the worldwide
automotive market won’t match pre-recession levels until 2013 at
the earliest. Industry sales in 2009 may decline for a second
consecutive year to 49 million vehicles, down 17 percent from a
peak of 2007, and a recovery next year isn’t guaranteed.

• Europe’s largest carmaker, Volkswagen (VW), has
said it is to buy 49.9 percent of sports car maker Porsche by the
end of 2009 for about €3.9 billion (£3.54 billion). In August VW
and Porsche agreed the details by which VW will merge with its
German compatriot by 2011. VW had initially been set to buy a 42
percent stake in Porsche by the end of this year for €3.3 billion.
The deal will end months of acrimony between the two firms, and
would end Porsche’s failed efforts to buy VW.

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• UK motor dealers have predicted that the industry
faces a long road to economic recovery. According to a recent poll
by Castrol Professional, nearly three-quarters (70 percent) of
dealers questioned believe that economic recovery is still more
than a year away, while two-thirds (67 percent) say that the new
car market will not return to pre-recessionary levels for five
years or more. The gloomy forecast was obtained at a recent
business seminar hosted by Castrol Professional, which was attended
by keynote speakers, including IMI chief executive Sarah

• For the first time since the peak in March this
year, Manheim’s latest Dealer Dashboard figures indicate that used
car sales have actually risen from an average of 10.8 sales per
dealer per month in August to 11.1 sales per dealer per month in

• Used car specialist Glass’s Guide has warned of a
fall-off in business at auction houses in recent weeks. According
to Glass’s, there has been a “noticeable downturn” in the wholesale
used car market.

“The middle of September marked a watershed,” said
Glass’s Guide managing editor Adrian Rushmore. “It coincided with a
further reduction in retail sales, just when the supply of trade
cars was on the increase.”