•March car registrations were up 0.5 per
cent to 451,642 for the month on 2007 figures. Supermini
registrations rose by up 4.3 per cent in the month to account for
35.3 per cent of the market. Diesel and alternatively-fuelled
vehicle volumes also grew, up 7.7 per cent and 14.7 per cent
respectively.

“March continues to be the biggest month for new car
registrations and this year has proved to be better than
anticipated,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “We expect
2008 to be a challenging year, but registrations to date are in
line with industry forecasts. The latest figures demonstrate the
progress made by industry in delivering lower carbon cars and the
wide range of opportunities there are for consumers to save money
and reduce their carbon footprint.”

• According to data company EurotaxGlass’s, the 98 per cent
increase in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), recently announced by the
Chancellor for a selected group of used cars, is certain to have an
impact on their residual values – but only when potential buyers
make sense of the complex new rules, and identify those vehicles
worst affected. The cars that will experience the biggest jump in
VED are those emitting over 226g CO2/km, registered after March 1
2001 but before March 23 2006. These cars, which move from the
current band F to the new bands L or M, will see their VED jump
from £210 to a minimum of £415 from next year – a significant
amount relative to their likely value. “As prices for older cars
reduce over time, the tax burden comes into greater focus for
prospective buyers, affecting demand and values,” commented Adrian
Rushmore, managing editor at EurotaxGlass’s. “Such a sharp rise in
VED could well have implications for the used car market in the
coming months and years, but much will depend on customers’
understanding of the changes.”

• Following lengthy consultation and parliamentary debate,
the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act has received
royal assent and the majority of it will come into force on April 6
2008. The Act provides for a statutory offence of ‘corporate
manslaughter’ (in Scotland, ‘corporate homicide’) where the death
of an individual is caused by an organisation. The Act applies to
companies operating in the UK, whether established in the UK or
abroad, and also to certain charities and voluntary organisations.
The common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter is
abolished, insofar as it applied to companies. Motor sector
businesses will need to keep health and safety management systems
under constant review to avoid falling foul of the new corporate
manslaughter law coming into force from April, warned the Retail
Motor Industry Federation (RMIF). The Corporate Manslaughter and
Corporate Homicide Act will come into force on 6 April 2008 and
will be called corporate manslaughter in England, Wales and
Northern Ireland, and corporate homicide in Scotland.

 Motor Finance Issue: 42 – April 08
by
Tony Worthy , Managing Director
Published for the web: April 24 08 9:45
Last Updated: April 24 08 13:52