Europe sales go clunk

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

THE end of ‘‘cash for clunkers’’ schemes in Europe have plunged car sales be­low last years trough.

There was a 17.4 per cent fall in new car sales in July af­ter ‘‘scrap­page’’ schemes ended in Bri­tain, France, Italy and Ger­many.

Prime Min­is­ter Ju­lia Gil­lard has promised a sim­i­lar in­cen­tive scheme which pro­vides $2000 for peo­ple cash­ing in cars at least 15 years old for new, more eco­nom­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ve­hi­cles.

The La­bor Party scheme is not as gen­er­ous as most of the Euro­pean schemes which also in­cluded equal in­cen­tives from car com­pa­nies.

Volk­swa­gen re­mained the best per­former in Europe last month de­spite a 12.9 per cent drop, ahead of Re­nault, Ford and Peu­geot.

VWs Polo is one of the few cars buck­ing the down­ward trend, post­ing sales gains in all ma­jor mar­kets.

It was up 40 per cent in Ger­many in July, against an over­all mar­ket drop of 30.2 per cent.

Re­nault’s re­freshed Me­gane is also im­prov­ing sales, up 15.4 per cent.

Top mod­els in Europe VWGolf .. .. -25.4% VWPolo .. .. +33.7% Ford Fi­esta .. -28% Re­nault Clio .. -6.4% Re­nault Me­gane +15.4% THE thump­ing Mercedes gull­wing SLS, su­per­car Lexus LFA and gor­geous As­ton Martin Rapide head the field for the 2011 judg­ing of the World Car of the Year award.

A to­tal of 37 cars are up for the award, which was won for 2010 by the Volk­swa­gen Golf.

The fi­nal list runs al­pha­bet­i­cally from the Alfa Romeo Gi­uli­etta to the Volk­swa­gen Touareg, and takes in ev­ery­thing from the Honda CR-Z hy­brid to the Jeep Grand Chero­kee SUV.

There are three sub­cat­e­gories in the World COTY con­test, with 13 cars short-listed for Per­for­mance Car hon­ours, an­other 13 for Green Car and 50 for the De­sign of the year. The win­ners will be named at the New York Mo­tor Show. SYD­NEY could be­come the Ford show in Oc­to­ber.

A global re­veal is set to go as the blue oval brand spends more than $2 mil­lion to claim the high ground for the first run­ning of the Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show.

It will also have re­vamped Fal­cons and most likely a pre­view of the next Ter­ri­tory for 2011, set for show­rooms in Fe­bru­ary, as Aus­tralia fi­nally drives out of the sec­ond­string shows on the Ford pro­gram.

‘‘Aus­tralia has been el­e­vated to the sta­tus of a global mo­tor show,’’ spokesper­son for Ford Aus­tralia Sinead McAlary said.

‘‘In Ford-speak, we now treat it with the same level of at­ten­tion as Detroit, Paris and Geneva.

‘‘In the past there were too many mo­tor shows in Aus­tralia, but now there is just one it can be treated ap­pro­pri­ately.

‘‘Once we started work­ing on a global re­veal the show had to have more im­por­tance.’’

McAlary re­fuses to dis­cuss Ford’s big show sur­prise — which could be any­thing from the T6 pickup un­der de- vel­op­ment at Broad­mead­ows to an elec­tric-pow­ered con­cept car — but ad­mits it will have sig­nif­i­cance be­yond Aus­tralia.

‘‘You’ll have to wait much closer to show day to find out what’s hap­pen­ing,’’ she said.

Ford is also spread­ing its multi-mil­lion dol­lar spend­ing be­yond the open­ing of the show, invit­ing key ex­ec­u­tives and host­ing a ma­jor me­dia event early in the week of the show — which opens on Oc­to­ber 15.

‘‘We’re tak­ing a look at our pres­ence as a whole, not just the ve­hi­cles,’’ McAlary said.

‘‘We’re also putting a lot of ef­fort into the non-ve­hi­cle as­pects of the show, things like in­ter­ac­tive ac­tiv­i­ties for kids.’’

‘‘So we’ll show­case ve­hi­cles that are avail­able to buy, in­clud­ing the 50th an­niver­sary Fal­cons.’’

THE AIMS is al­ready a sell­out that’s short on space.

More than 30 car­mak­ers have snapped up all the space at the Dar­ling Har­bour ex­hi­bi­tion cen­tre in Syd­ney, which will be host­ing the event for the first and last time.

It moves to Mel­bourne in the mid­dle of 2011.

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