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The Financial Times
Second-hand Volkswagen cars are as popular as ever in the UK, despite an emissions scandal that has tainted the brand and hurt sales of new vehicles. VW admitted last year that it had been installing devices in diesel vehicles to cheat in US emissions tests. “What consumers care most about is fuel and running costs,” said Nathan Coe, operations director of Auto Trader, the car sales business. Sales of new VW cars in the UK fell 13.9 per cent in January, according to figures from industry body SMMT. But an Auto Trader survey found that average used car prices for VWs were not affected, while consumer searches for VW brands “showed no change”.
The Daily Telegraph
British car production rose 8 percent year-on-year in January, boosted by strong demand from overseas, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said on Thursday. A total of 137,552 cars were built last month, with a 10 percent increase in the number of vehicles produced for export and a 3 percent rise in the amount of cars destined for the domestic market. Around four in five cars built in Britain are exported.
A bumper January for retailers has turned into a lacklustre February as shoppers reacted to news of falling wage growth and the slowing economy by closing their wallets and deserting the high street. The CBI’s quarterly survey of retailers found that sales dropped below normal in February and that shop owners expected next month to be even worse. The business lobby group said its members in the retail industry were planning to slightly scale back investment spending this year after two quarters when firms expected to raise their capital outlay.
Everyone from the boss of Vodafone to the chief executive of the Waterloo Tea Company wants Britain to stay in the European Union. Quelle surprise, you may well groan. After all, big business has always been in favour of “Europe” for good, and, sometimes, less honourable reasons. Large transnational companies do more business across more borders than ever before and in virtually every economic activity they conduct, from manufacturing cars and armaments to processing financial transactions and designing buildings, the idea of having to navigate tariff walls, customs declarations, work visas, different standards and any other of the myriad barriers to trade must be depressing indeed.
The Daily Express
A British road riddled with pot-holes and dubbed “among the worst in the world” has been replicated by Ford to test the suspension on new vehicles. For many years Dunton Road, a quiet country lane in Herongate, Essex, was notorious for being riddled with deep pot-holes and severe cambers. Now the B-road’s surface has been recreated by Ford to test cars to the “extreme”. It forms part of a 1.2-mile gruelling test track known as The Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium used by motor engineers.
The Daily Mail
A flurry of positive economic news yesterday has given George Osborne a timely boost ahead of next month’s Budget.
Lending to businesses increased at the fastest pace for more than seven years, while high-profile manufacturers including Aston Martin announced plans to ramp up production. There was also a vote of confidence from the International Monetary Fund, which said: ‘Considerable progress has been achieved in the post-crisis repair of the UK economy. ‘The UK economy has been growing steadily. Economic recovery has been driven by robust expansion of private domestic demand and has supported rapid job growth.’