Photo of Tony Worthy• A new
survey by vehicle valuation company Glass’s has revealed the number
of people considering buying an electric or hybrid vehicle as their
next purchase has risen from 9 percent to 53 percent since the same
question was last asked in July 2010, showing a fivefold
increase.

Britain’s motor industry is
in line for a £7 billion boost from electric cars between now and
2014, according to a separate report by Gfk Automotive. Yet in the
short term, dealerships face a “fraught” 2011, as the stuttering
economy and subdued consumer confidence drag electric sales down by
as much as 10 per cent on last year, Professor Garel Rhys of
Cardiff University warns.

Is the finance industry ready
for the introduction of electric cars at the level mentioned above?
The cars will be expensive, reliability untested and for some time
in the future will have unknown residual values.

• Daihatsu has announced it
will be pulling out of Europe entirely by 2013. The weakness of
both the euro and sterling against the yen is cited as the reason
for withdrawal, as the company claims it simply can’t make money by
selling cars here. To be fair, poor sales also cannot have helped
matters.

Despite selling over 58,000
vehicles back in 2007, the firm shifted less than 20,000 across 10
EU markets last year.

Will more Korean and Japanese
manufacturers pull out of Europe? Should finance companies be
taking this uncertainty into account when underwriting finance
proposals for far Eastern manufacturers?

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By GlobalData

• Forecourt prices have seen
their biggest monthly leap in a generation according to the AA,
with the cost of filling a tank of unleaded rising by £3.07. The
motoring organisation says a combination of higher taxes and higher
oil prices added 6.13 pence a litre between mid-December and
mid-January, taking the price to £128.27. It represents the largest
leap in petrol prices since the oil price shock triggered by the
1973 Yom Kippur War in the Middle East.

Will the hike in the running
costs of motoring increase the level of bad debt, voluntary
terminations and court action on existing business?

• HPI has extended its data
warranty offering to up to four years, with the intention of
helping dealers meet Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
guidelines.

HPI director of automotive
Daniel Burgess said: “The OFT’s guidance is designed to help them
comply with consumer protection legislation. HPI offers an easy way
to meet the requirements.”

Should finance companies
insist used vehicles are covered by the HPI warranty when
underwriting risks?

• New car registrations fell
by 11.5 percent to 128,811 units in January, in line with industry
expectations.

In the past, when new car registrations fall, franchise
dealers are encouraged to pre-register vehicles. This leads to a
reduction in used car values. Is the finance industry prepared for
a fall in values?