Motor Month

Diesel registrations were up 10 per cent and took 44.9 per cent
share of the market in January. January 2008 registrations were
down 2.1 per cent to 162,097 units over 2007 volumes. The forecast
for 2008 has been revised to 2.345m units, down 2.5 per cent over
2007. “We expect a modest fall in registrations this year, and a
2.1 per cent dip in January is in line with expectations,” said
Paul
Everitt
, SMMT
chief executive. “Fuel efficiency is a high priority for customers
and it is encouraging to see that nearly half of the market is
diesel. The 4×4 and MPV segments saw an increase in volumes over
January 2007, and are segment leaders in reducing tailpipe
CO2, with drops of 20 and 24 per cent respectively
between 1997 and 2007.”

The rolling 12-month van registrations at the end of January
were 338,351. Vans were up 2.7 per cent for January and 3.3 per
cent for the rolling year.

Ford’s plan to return to profit in 2009 is on track, believes
chairman Bill
Ford
. With new CEO Alan
Mulally
now in the job for 12 months, the major initiatives the
two men put into place last year are starting to pay dividends,
Ford said. “We took four major initiatives last year,” he said.
“Building a strong global marketing position; globalising product
development; sustainability; and attacking the cost structure.
We’ve made real progress on all four fronts.”  Mulally said
the company was recovering from recent turmoil. “Inside Ford,
things feel very different to a year ago,” he said. In particular,
2008 will see six major North American product launches, and 70 per
cent of the models in US showrooms will be new cars by the end of
the year.

Transport minister, Rosie Winterton MP, has launched the results
of the first-ever survey by Government into car-sharing claiming
that it was popular with 61 per cent of respondents having taken
part in some form of car sharing in the past month. However only 1
per cent of respondents said they were part of a formal car-sharing
scheme.

More ‘green’ cars than gas-guzzlers will be sold in the UK this
year for the first time as drivers respond to rising fuel prices
and environmental concerns.

Sales of new cars in the £300-a-year top road tax band fell last
year by 15 per cent to the lowest level on record, according to
figures from the SMMT. Meanwhile, sales of low-emission cars in
bands A and B, which are either zero-rated for road tax or pay £35,
leapt by 17 per cent. Now, the SMMT is forecasting that sales of
band G cars paying £300, such as the Porsche Cayenne and the BMW
7-Series, will continue to fall sharply and be overtaken this year
by sales of cars in bands A and B. Despite the publicity given to
the Toyota Prius and other hybrid cars, which combine a petrol
engine with an electric motor, most of the 128,646 low-emission
cars sold last year had diesel engines.