• New car registrations fell by 24 percent in
April. The market has fallen by 245,184 units or 28.5 percent
during the first four months of 2009. Diesel penetration has
slipped, but demand for small cars continues to grow.
“Despite recording the 11th successive fall in new
car registrations, the UK motor industry continues to demonstrate
its resilience,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.
• Global car markets could take five years or more
to return to pre-recession levels, according to industry experts.
Meanwhile, Professor Garel Rhys, of Cardiff Business School, said
if the UK new car market continued to decline at current rates,
sales could fall to only 1.4 million vehicles by the end of the
year. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, however,
predicts 2009 sales will total 1.7m.
• Fiat is one of several potential buyers of part
of Vauxhall/Opel. Sources at the Opel work council, and officials
in the German government, have confirmed Fiat has shown an interest
in GM Europe. They also revealed Canada-based components supplier
Magna is interested. However, Fiat, which is continuing to hold
talks with rival struggling US carmaker Chrysler on a potential
partnership, has played down speculation it is interested.
• Saab, the struggling carmaker being cut adrift by
parent General Motors, says more than 20 ‘active parties’ are
interested in buying it. A deal could be completed in June.
• Talks between Jaguar Land Rover and the UK
government on a financial aid package for the carmaker have reached
an impasse over the degree of oversight and management control
being demanded by Whitehall.
• The sale of Birmingham-based van maker LDV to
Malaysian firm Weststar has been agreed, a company spokesman has
said. The UK government will provide a £5 million, four-week
bridging loan to allow time for the takeover to be completed.
• Germany has tripled the size of its car-scrapping
scheme, which rewards trading in old cars for new ones. The
government will raise its budget from €1.5 billion (£1.3 billion)
to €5 billion, aiming to cover up to two million cars instead of
• Motorists will bear the brunt of more than half
the tax rises announced by Alistair Darling in the Budget.
According to calculations by the RAC, UK drivers will contribute an
extra £600 million to the Treasury this year – 59 percent of the
additional revenue the Chancellor estimates will be generated.
• BEN, the automotive industry charity, has started
a cost-reduction programme aimed at saving £1 million as it tackles
declining revenues during the recession.