July car market grows 12.7% but van sales drop 2.6%

The car market for July has risen again for the 17th consecutive month. The SMMT figures report that total new vehicle sales were 162,228 in July, up 12.7% (18,344 units) on the prior year. Year to date the market remains up 10.3% over 2012 at 1,325,851 units to end July. This further increase in growth has resulted in a revised market forecast of 2.216 million units by the year-end.

By contrast the new van sales in July dropped by 2.6% over 2012 to 18,417 units in the month. Year to date remains slightly ahead at 151,594 units, up 1.6% over the prior year. The SMMT are predicting a strong end to the year and are forecasting 291,000 units by year-end.

Truck sales continue to see the effect of the Euro 5/6 transition with new sales up 10.3% in July to 3,794 units. However the year to date market is still down 8.8% over 2012 at 25,114 units.

Bank of England Governor suggests interest rates set to remain at 0.5%

Mark Carney, the new Bank of England Governor, has indicated that interest rates will remain at 0.5% until the national unemployment rate drops below 7% from its current level of 7.8%. This drop will see the creation of 750,000 new jobs in the UK and could take up to three years, the Governor suggest.

Audi UK Director to leave

Volkswagen Group UK Limited has announced that Martin Sander, Director of Audi UK, is to leave the business and take up a new position elsewhere in Audi AG, the German parent company, although details have yet to be provided.  This statement comes only a few weeks after the announcement that Simon Thomas is to leave as Group Managing Director.  Martin Sander started with Audi UK in January 2012 so this move marks more significant board room changes within the UK operation.

Skoda opens new site in Harlow with Spire Automotive

The Spire Automotive Limited has added Skoda to its Group by opening a new site in Harlow and will trade as Spirit Skoda.  This brings Spire’s Essex representation to 12 sites now representing Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, BMW, Mini and Peugeot.

ECO friendly facility opened by T H White

T H White has opened a purpose built Fiat Group facility in Hillmead, Swindon.  The multi-million pound site offers Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Abarth together with the Fiat Group’s other brands of Chrysler, Jeep and Fiat Professional commercial vehicles.

The new building has been designed as an environmentally friendly and efficient site that is heated by burning used engine oil drained from vehicles whist being serviced.  Solar panels provide much of the electric power, and recycled rain water is used for cleaning vehicles.

John Lewis appointed Non-Executive Director at TR Fleet

John Lewis has been appointed as Non-Executive Director at TR Fleet, the fleet specialist consultancy.  TR Fleet offer a range of services from independent fleet advice to driver risk management.  John’s experience and expertise in road and driver safety will bring significant benefits to TR Fleet as they look to improve fleet policies and practices through their Drive Secure programme.  John was Chief Executive of The British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association for 13 years and remains with them as Director of External Affairs.

European car market continues to suffer

The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has just published the June car market results in Europe.  The June month has dropped 5.6% from last year and is the lowest sales volume since 1996.  This brings the year to date total down 6.6% from the previous year at just over 6.2 million new units.  However the UK market remains strong and is the only European sector up on the previous year with the month seeing sales rise by 13.4% and a total increase year to date of 10% over 2012.

Simon Thomas to leave Volkswagen Group UK

The Managing Director of Volkswagen Group UK Limited, Simon Thomas, is to leave his UK position on 1 September and take up a new role in Wolfsburg, Germany as Head of Global Marketing.

Simon joined the Volkswagen Group in September 2011.  His successor has yet to be announced.

May House Price Index data released by ONS

  • In the 12 months to May 2013 UK house prices increased by 2.9%, up from a 2.6% increase in the 12 months to April 2013.
  • House price growth remains stable across most of the UK, although prices in London are increasing faster than the UK average.
  • The year-on-year increase reflected growth of 3.1% in England, 0.8% in Scotland, 0.6% in Wales and 1.9% in Northern Ireland.
  • May 2013 is the first month that Northern Ireland house prices have grown year-on-year since February 2008.
  • Annual house price increases in England were driven by a 6.6% rise in London and a 2.7% increase in both the North West and the West Midlands.
  • Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 1.9% in the 12 months to May 2013.
  • On a seasonally adjusted basis, UK house prices increased by 0.3% between April and May 2013.
  • In May 2013, prices paid by first-time buyers were 4.1% higher on average than in May 2012. For owner-occupiers (existing owners) prices increased by 2.5% for the same period.

BT Plc cleared to acquire ESPN Global

The Office for Fair Trading has now formally approved the purchase of ESPN Global Limited by British Telecommunications Plc expanding their pay television sports broadcasting capability.

The acquisition was first announced in February with BT agreeing to purchase ESPN’s Ireland and UK TV channels to increase BT’s live sports coverage, including the FA Cup, Scottish Premier League, Uefa Europa League and German Bundesliga matches.

The launch of this new BT Sports TV package is planned for 1 August 2013.