v●The August new car market was down by 18.6 per cent
and 3.8 per cent year-to-date. Mini segment volume doubled in
August, taking year-to-date increase to 37.1 per cent.
Diesel registrations account for 43.2 per cent of 2008 new car
market, year-to-date.


●The second-hand value of Britain’s family cars is plummeting so
fast that garages are now branding the largest gas-guzzling
‘Chelsea tractors’ worthless – and refusing to take them in
part-exchange. Some are worth more as scrap, they say as demand for
steel soars. Used car values generally are set to drop by 12 per
cent between now and Christmas as the credit crunch bites,
according to experts at EurotaxGlass’s. Meanwhile, experts at price
guide Parkers say the slump is being exacerbated by the
government’s controversial retrospective Vehicle Excise Duty plans
which they say have ‘skewed’ the market. As a result of this and
soaring fuel prices, garages are refusing to take the biggest 4x4s
in part-exchange because they are considered worthless and
impossible to sell.

●In a recent survey carried out by Exchange & Mart, it was
revealed that 84 per cent of over 1,000 buyers surveyed would like
their next car to be less than five years old. This figure has
increased since the same survey was carried out in 2007 and may be
due to growing awareness that newer cars are more economical and
environmentally friendly. The reduced efficiency and increased
carbon emissions of older cars are making the news every week, and
this may be having an effect on the way car buyers think about
their next vehicle.

Compared to the 2007 results, it appears that whilst buyers are
not necessarily looking for a brand new car they are prepared to
make an investment now to save money in the longer term, by
spending more on a relatively new car which will cost less to keep
running. Whilst the most popular price bracket was £1-5,000, a
greater number of buyers are now thinking of spending between
£5,000 and £15,000 on their next vehicle.

●The government is to press ahead with plans for a national
road-pricing scheme, raising the prospect of further costs for
motorists. Trials of the ‘pay as you drive’ system, inluding
testing ‘spy in the sky’ technology are to begin in 2010.

●Pendragon slashed its dividend after revealing a sudden
freefall in the sale and price of new and used vehicles during
June, dragging pre-tax profit for the first six months of the year
down by 37 per cent. During June, Pendragon said wholesale used car
prices witnessed “the biggest single monthly reduction in over five
years”, in particular for large executive and off-road vehicles.
The company also said that private sector registrations, which
includes car sales to small businesses and individuals, slumped by
12 per cent in June.