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Big Gains, Big Vehicles and a Big Finish
Automakers sold more cars and trucks to U.S. buyers in the last two months than in any other November and December in history. Now entering its sixth consecutive year of growth, the market could top 17 million units for the first time since 2001. If that weren’t enough, an improving economy, plunging gasoline prices and easy credit are encouraging consumers to buy bigger, pricier, more lucrative vehicles. The three most popular vehicles of 2014 were all pickups — a segment with transaction prices averaging more than $44,000. The last time a sedan didn’t make the top three was 2003. “This is going to be a really healthy 17 million,” said Jesse Toprak, chief analyst for Cars.com. “There’s substance behind the growth this time, and there’s not a bubble. It’s real demand.”
Source: Automotive News
More than 200 plug-in vehicles are expected to be added to public sector fleets as the next phase of the ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) scheme begins.
The first phase saw 15 Government departments launch reviews of their vehicle fleets and will see around 150 vehicles begin to enter fleets from February.
The second phase is open to the wider public sector with up to 35 public sector organisations, including the police, fire services and the NHS, being asked to bid for funding from the £5 million scheme.
Winners will be offered a fully-funded fleet review to identify how to introduce greener vehicles.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “We want the public sector to lead by example. This £5 million investment will see a significant increase in the number of plug-in vehicles used by public bodies such as local authorities, police forces and the NHS and help both the environment and the economy. I look forward to seeing the results.”
Bigger, less efficient engine cars could make a return in both the new and used markets thanks to falling fuel prices, predicts Glass’s.
With pump prices at their lowest since 2009 and a general increase in consumer confidence apparent, buyers are much more likely to consider buying a gas guzzler.
Rupert Pontin, Glass’s head of valuations, said: “The desirability of this type of car went into significant decline around five years ago as a direct result of increasing fuel prices allied with falling consumer confidence and greater Government austerity.
“Popularity never really recovered. In recent years, a 3.0 litre medium sized petrol or diesel saloon has lagged some way behind its 1.8 or 2.0 litre equivalent when it comes to retaining its value in the used market. Buyers have viewed them with suspicion.
“However, with industry prices at around $50 for a barrel of oil, economic pundits predict that it could be three years before prices return to the $105 recent peak seen in 2014 and even longer before we see a return to the record high of $144 of July 2008.
“While no-one could call petrol and diesel prices exactly cheap, they are certainly falling to a level where some consumers won’t place fuel economy as high on their list of priorities as we have seen in recent years. Bigger engined cars are suddenly more viable.”
Pontin added that while this development was a positive in terms of a better commercial performance for larger engined cars, it could also be bad news in environmental terms.
National Pothole Day was held on Thursday 15 January 2015 by Street Repairs and supported by the RAC.
In 2014 the RAC teamed up with Street Repairs to create a free Report a Pothole App and web-based plug-in tool.
This enables motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and other road users to instantly report street defects direct to the responsible local authority or the responsible agency with accurate location, details and even photographs.
RAC spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Potholes have been a blight on driving in the UK for far too long, and the RAC is pleased to support National Pothole Day and the efforts of StreetRepairs to draw further attention to this important issue.
Despite promises of further cash to help fix the problem, motorists still suffer from many, many miles of poorly surfaced roads.
“Our latest Report on Motoring highlighted that motorists are growing increasingly concerned about the state of the roads, with 41% of those surveyed in 2014 telling us it is a major issue.
“We’d encourage motorists to look at the state of their roads and get online on National Pothole Day to let their local authorities know which really need their attention this winter.”
Sunsail Events, experts in organising corporate team building sailing events, have announced ‘The Automotive Challenge Cup’, an inaugural team racing event in aid of BEN, the automotive charity.
Setting sail on Thursday 18 June 2015, teams spend the day learning the ropes and racing against each other, on board the only matched fleet on the Solent, meaning any team can win. This makes it the ideal event for networking, welcoming new clients, and thanking and strengthening existing relations with employees and customers.
This event is open to anyone working within the automotive industry and for every yacht entered, Sunsail will donate £500 to BEN. Sailing experience is not required and entrants will find everything they need included in the entry fee; a dedicated skipper and first mate, breakfast and afternoon tea in the Portsmouth Harbour Yacht Club, lunch on-board, clothing, plus professional race management. The entry fee is just £1,895 (excl. VAT) for a maximum of 10 people per yacht.
Executives forecast higher operating profits, 3% global growth in 2015
General Motors said [Wednesday] it posted its second straight year of record global vehicle sales, with deliveries growing 2 percent to 9.9 million units. “GM is making solid progress and has good momentum,” CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. Earlier [Wednesday], GM executives said they expect operating profits to grow in 2015, even as the company funnels more money toward developing new vehicles and strengthening its brands through increased marketing. The improved profits should be driven by an expected 3 percent growth in global automotive sales, continued improvement in GM’s European operations and better results in North America from selling a more profitable mix of vehicles, GM CFO Chuck Stevens told reporters.
Source: Automotive News
GM CEO Sees Higher U.S. Auto Sales in 2015
General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra told reporters Thursday she expects steady growth of U.S. auto sales this year, reaching 16.5 million to 17 million with the help of growing employment, low gas prices and expected younger and first-time buyers. Sales grew 5.9 percent in 2014 to 16.5 million sales, the highest level since 2006. Barra met with reporters for about 55 minutes at GM’s Renaissance Center headquarters ahead of the 2015 North American International Auto Show next week and nearly a year after becoming CEO. Her assessment is similar to other predictions for 2015 from analysts, some who see GM benefiting from low gas prices with sales of more profitable trucks and SUVs. She said she is “cautiously optimistic” about GM and the industry in 2015. She said market share “growth is important,” but she will look for profitable growth that maintains GM vehicle resale values and builds brands.
Source: The Detroit News