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FTThe Financial Times

Economists’ forecasts: Interest rates to stay low

British households can look forward to another year of ultra-low interest rates, with most economists expecting a maximum 1 per cent by the end of 2016. Just five out of 104 respondents to the question* see a rise of more than half a percentage point. A modest tightening was forecast by 72, while 21 expected policy to remain on hold or even loosen further.

Toyota snubs Apple and Google on car tech

Toyota has chosen to use a technology originally developed by rival Ford to connect smartphone apps to its cars’ dashboards, snubbing Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto in the latest sign of tensions between the automotive industry and Silicon Valley.

US motor industry scores 2015 sales record of 17.5m units

US carmakers set the seal on a remarkable six-year recovery in December, with bumper sales that pushed a rejuvenated motor industry past the annual sales record it set in 2000. Strengthening consumer confidence, cheap credit and low fuel prices have spurred demand for far longer than Wall Street expected. While growth is likely to slow, analysts predict 2016 may be another record year.

Brussels seeks new powers to oversee carmakers

Brussels is seeking new powers to police carmakers’ compliance with emissions rules as EU officials seek to address regulatory failings that left it to US regulators to expose widespread cheating by Germany’s Volkswagen.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, is considering options including endowing itself with authority to review the national regulators who currently assess cars’ safety and environmental performance, according to officials. This could include giving the commission power to demand extra testing on suspect cars and even to apply sanctions.

Toyota poaches Google exec to help lead AI effort

Toyota has hired Google’s former head of robotics and a key executive in the search company’s driverless car efforts, as it predicted that robots could become as important to its future as cars have been to it since the 1930s.

VW sued by US justice department

The US justice department is suing Volkswagen over the emissions scandal that saw the German car giant fit software in millions of cars to cheat emissions tests. In September last year, following an investigation by US regulators, VW admitted fitting the so-called defeat device on 11 million vehicles globally. The scandal has hit sales of VWs worldwide.

The company has put aside billions of euros to deal with the fallout.

Borrowing jumped ahead of Christmas, Bank of England says

The amount of money being borrowed by consumers in the run-up to Christmas rose by £1.5bn, the largest rise for nearly eight years. In November, consumers owed a total of £178.2bn on credit cards and loans, figures from the Bank of England show. The monthly increase was the largest since February 2008 and compares with a rise of £1.2bn in October. The rise in consumer credit follows signs of increased spending on the High Street. Retail sales volumes rose by 5% in November compared with the same month in 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

EU Referendum: Ministers will be able to campaign for either side

David Cameron is to allow ministers to campaign for either side in the referendum once a deal is reached on the UK’s relationship with the EU. He said the UK government would make a recommendation to the British people on which way to vote in the referendum. But he told MPs “it will be open to individual ministers to take a different, personal decision while remaining part of the government”. The referendum on whether the UK stays in the EU will be held before 2018.

The Daily Telegraph

Consumer borrowing rises at fastest rate since before the financial crisis

Borrowing by British families has risen by the fastest rate since before the financial crisis amid mounting concern that households are taking on too much debt. The Bank of England disclosed that credit card debt, personal loans and other forms of borrowing rose by 8.3 per cent in the year to November 2015, the highest rise for nearly a decade.

The amount borrowed by British households rose from £168.6billion to £178.1billion, with credit card borrowing rising by more than £2billion to £63billion, while debt on personal loans and overdrafts rose by £4billion to £115billion.

The Daily Mail

Turn on the kettle from your CAR: Ford reveals its smart vehicles will soon be able to control appliances in the home

Your car could soon control appliances in your home, if Ford has its way. The company today announced at CES that it is exploring linking its cars to smart devices like Amazon Echo and Wink. This will allow its vehicles to control lights, thermostats, kettles, security systems and other features of their homes from their car.

Posted by Sue Robinson on 08/01/2016