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Commercial vehicle registrations up 7.5% in Dec

31 January 2012

In December, new commercial vehicle registrations in the EU amounted to 166,739 units, or 7.5% more than in the same month of 2010.
Registrations grew in France (+2.5%), the UK (+13.4%) and Germany (+16.3%), while results were negative in Italy (-0.8%) and Spain (-14.2%). Over the year 2011, a total of 1,935,392 new vehicles were registered. This is 9.9% more than in 2010 but still about one-fifth below pre-crisis levels when annual volumes averaged 2.5 million units. In 2011, France remained the largest market, with 482,823 new vehicles and an expansion of 5.6%. Germany registered 334,822 units, a growth of 18.7%, followed by the UK (+17.6%) with 306,488 new vehicles. The Italian (-3.4) and the Spanish markets (-6.6%) contracted.
In December, registrations of new vans grew by 5.4% in the EU. While growth prevailed in France (+1.6%), the UK (+7.8%) and Germany (+22.6%), Italy (-14.4%) and Spain (-15.7%) faced a double-digit downturn. In total, 136,404 new vans were recorded in the month. From January to December, the EU recorded1,586,255 new vans, or 7.0% more than in 2010. Results were different across markets as France (+2.7%), the UK (+16.7%) and Germany (+18.8%) performed better, while Italy (-6.1%) and Spain (-10.1%) declined.
Heavy trucks recorded the highest increase across segments (+20.8%), with 19,482 new units in the EU*. Spain (-4.1%) was the only major market to shrink. Elsewhere, results were positive, ranging from +0.6% in Germany to +11.0% in France and +39.0% in the UK. Over twelve months, all significant markets experienced growth. Spain saw demand for heavy trucks increase by 20.6%, while growth was 23.3% in Germany, 41.5% in France and 42.5% in the UK. Overall, the EU* recorded 236,512 new heavy trucks in 2011, which is 36.0% more than in the previous year.
December results in the truck segment showed a 20.5% upturn in the EU which recorded 26,846 units. Looking at the most significant markets, Spain (-3.5%) was the only one to contract, while Germany remained stable (+0.9%) and France (+13.2%) and the UK (+46.3%) posted double-digit growths. From January to December, growth prevailed across major markets, leading to an overall 29.0% upturn. Demand for new trucks rose by 19.8% in Germany, 19.9% in Spain, 31.3% in the UK and 37.7% in France. A total amount of 315,447 vehicles was recorded in the EU.


Toyota withdraws from UK panel van market

26 January 2012

With no Euro 5-compliant diesel available for the Hiace, Toyota has dropped it from the 2012 UK light commercial vehicle line-up, leaving the Japanese manufacturer bereft of a panel van offering. And there are no plans to re-introduce Hiace at a later date.


VW up! 5-door

26 January 2012

Volkswagen has unveiled a more practical, five-door version of its up! city car


BMW M diesels

26 January 2012

BMW officially reveals diesel-powered M models, including an M550d capable of 44.8mpg


Blue badge fraud crackdown for new year

25 January 2012

Tough new measures to crack down on drivers who abuse the disabled parking system - including a new Blue Badge design which is harder to forge - will come into force on 1 January, Transport Minister Norman Baker has announced.
Previously, Blue Badges were made from card and handwritten but from the New Year disabled drivers will be able to apply for an electronically printed badge, much like a driving licence. The new badge will have security features such as a unique hologram, digital photo and serial number allowing parking attendants to check for genuine badges more easily through the windscreen.  Blue Badge fraud is estimated to cost the UK £46 million a year and it is generally accepted that reform is urgently needed. The new badge is part of a wider crackdown on misuse of the scheme to ensure disabled parking spaces can only be used by those most in need.
Other measures include:
 •shared administration between authorities resulting in faster renewals, less abuse and operational efficiency savings of up to £20 million a year;
•better customer service for badge holders, including being able to apply for and renew badges online using Directgov, as well as access to a new national helpline number. From April 2012 customers will also be able to report lost and stolen badges online;
•wider use of independent mobility assessments to determine eligibility. To support this local authorities will now have control of National Health Service spend on Blue Badge assessments; and
•extending the scheme to more disabled children under three years of age and severely disabled Armed Forces personnel and veterans; and removing residency requirements for disabled service personnel and their families who are posted overseas on UK bases.
Transport Minister, Norman Baker, said:
"Motorists who pretend to be disabled to get some free parking are frankly disgraceful. They prevent real Blue Badge holders from using parking bays designed for those genuinely in need and they cheat the vast majority of road users who play fair when they park their cars.  Our new Blue Badge will be as secure as a banknote and anyone thinking of faking it can forget it. We are also tightening up on enforcement and eligibility so there will be no way to scam the system."
Blue Badges provide a vital lifeline to more than 2.5 million disabled people every year by prioritising key parking spaces close to important services. However, increasing levels of badge fraud have meant those spaces are often full.  Earlier this year, the Government announced the most comprehensive changes to the Blue Badge Scheme for 40 years. The launch of the new badge is the last stage in a raft of measures which have begun to come into force since April.
Helen Dolphin, director of policy and campaigns at Disabled Motoring UK, said: "After years of campaigning for improvements to the Blue Badge Scheme, I’m delighted that changes that make the scheme fit for the 21st century have been introduced. The new badge design will stop badges being so easily forged and new guidance to local authorities will make the issuing of badges fairer. The Blue Badge is a fantastic scheme and all these changes will help ensure the scheme will only benefit those it was intended for."

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