Industry comment from expert insiders – January 8
Remarketing: Changing face of the second-hand market
by Mike Pilkington, managing director, Manheim Auctions and Remarketing
The escalating fuel prices last year and economic uncertainty since had a significant impact on used car values in 2008.
Our November market analysis report indicated that average prices in the fleet market fell by 17.1% between 2007 and 2008.
However, the price drop has varied between segments and Manheim’s presence in both the remarketing sector and retail support services paints an interesting picture of how consumer demand is translating into the wholesale market.
The public is definitely being driven towards more affordable motoring.
Our analysis of retail activity shows clear evidence of downsizing with quite a few premium-end, fuel-hungry cars being traded in for more economical and tax efficient models.
It also suggests that there may be an anomaly developing between the used car preferences of the private motorist who bears all car running costs and that of the company car driver where the company covers most of the expense.
Some of the aspirational and lifestyle influenced original choices have not got the same market appeal as they once did.
Not surprisingly, off road and recreational 4x4s – particularly the non-premium brands – are finding it tough, as are the larger-engined derivatives in the executive, compact executive and family car segments.
Even a number of the previously popular diesel-powered versions across most segments are struggling.
It is clear that an underlying price adjustment directly associated with increases in car running costs is occurring and despite the recent reduction in fuel prices this may signal a long term change.
Emissions: Real progress is being made on cutting emissions
by Paul Everitt, chief executive, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
Technological innovation has helped vehicle manufacturers slash CO2 and other emissions.
Average new car CO2 emissions have fallen by more than 16% in the last decade.
Manufacturers are increasingly bringing to market new cars with emissions below 120g/km. New diesel cars emit 95% less soot than those made 15 years ago and nitrogen oxide emissions have fallen by 80%.
Real progress has been made in reducing tailpipe emissions and, with the new car CO2 rules and similar legislation proposed for vans, this work is set to continue at a significant pace.
What goes largely unrecognised in the environmental debate is the strong progress made in reducing emissions and waste in manufacturing.
Each vehicle made in Britain requires half the energy to produce than it did five years ago, saving an estimated 700,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
Continued investment in energy-saving technologies and new internal energy-saving targets helped decrease the industry’s energy consumption by 12% per vehicle last year.
The associated CO2 emissions per vehicle fell by 14% and solvent emissions by nearly 7%.
Total combined waste to landfill is down by more than half, from 80,399 tonnes in 2000 to 30,004 tonnes in 2007.
When coupled with increased production figures, waste per unit has dropped 25% in the last year.
While the “use” stage of a vehicle’s life equates for the majority of CO2 emissions by far, it is through looking at the full lifecycle of a vehicle and that of the fuel used that we can have the greatest impact on improving the environmental performance of road transport.
Occupational road safety: Government agencies should lead by example
by Will Murray, research director, Interactive Driving Systems
There is a wide range of societal, business, legal and financial reasons to focus on road safety.
Unlocking which of these motivates action on a case by case basis is key to persuading organisations and managers to invest time and resources in occupational road safety.
There are no quick-win silver bullets in occupational road safety.
An holistic, multi-disciplined approach (based on the six Es: education, enforcement, engineering, engagement, enthusiasm and evaluation) is the only way to make sustainable long-term improvements.
The obvious simple solutions can sometimes cause more problems than they solve,
and detailed pilot studies, supported by rigorous evaluation, are important.
It is difficult for driver, vehicle or journey-based occupational road safety interventions to be successful if the culture and management of the organisation does not lead on the issue.
Successful case studies are important.
Government agencies make up, or generate, a massive proportion of the work-related travel that takes place and should be seen to lead by example through the effective auditing, risk assessment and management of their own systems, management, vehicles, drivers and journeys.
Globally, the best work on occupational road safety has been undertaken in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and US.
Some of the biggest opportunities are in the development of pan-European or global programmes by larger multi-national organisations that can filter down locally through their leadership of suppliers and contractors.