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The new car market continues to decline as demand for diesels plummets, industry figures show.


Figures for March show that new car registrations fell by around 15.6 per cent year-on-year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This was driven by a fall of just over 37 per cent in the number of new diesel cars bought.

Registrations of petrol cars rose by almost 1 per cent, while demand for alternatively fuelled vehicles such as hybrids and pure electrics increased by around 5.7 per cent.


The overall market fell by approximately 12 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

The SMMT had predicted a 'softening' of new car sales last month as March 2017 saw a record high for registrations due to many motorists buying cars before changes to vehicle excise duty came into effect.


Vauxhall is set to axe one in three of its dealerships putting at risk 3,700 jobs - as it becomes the latest firm to be hit by a slowdown in car sales.


The firm, which is owned by French giant PSA, will cancel contracts with all of its 326 dealers in the UK before striking new deals with only better performing branches. It is thought around 100 may close.


It will issue letters to all its dealerships in Britain at the end of April giving two years' notice that it is terminating their contracts. It is currently deciding which of the dealers to offer new terms.


Stephen Norman, Vauxhall's managing director, said: 'Conditions in the motor industry are changing, the competition is much more ferocious today especially in the UK than it was five years ago and inevitably there are different methods of consumption of automotive products and services including online and digital.


Stephen Norman, Vauxhall's managing director, has said: 'Conditions in the motor industry are changing, the competition is much more ferocious today especially in the UK than it was five years ago'


'Given what we see as the evolution in motor consumption in the next five to ten years - we have to think about the profitability of our franchising network and it is in their interests that we have taken this decision difficult though that may be to perceive at this stage.


Vauxhall's communications director Denis Chick has said the car maker will change the remuneration process for dealers and introduce new standards to better reflect the changing market, as consumers do more research online.


He said that the car maker will 'probably lose a few retailers' but denied reports that a third could be cut.


Vauxhall has the second largest number of dealerships in the UK after Ford.

Mr Chick insisted it would maintain this position after the franchising agreements are reformed, adding: 'Nobody will lose their jobs.'


The brand was taken over last year by France's PSA Group, whose efficiency drive has led to doubts over the future of the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.


Last October, PSA announced 400 job losses at the plant where is currently makes the Astra family hatchback. That was shortly followed by a call for a further 250 voluntary redundancies in January this year.


The drastic cuts come just three days after Jaguar Land Rover announced it was axing more than 1,000 jobs after seeing a fall in sales which it blamed on the crackdown on diesel engines.


Vauxhall's European sister company Opel is also shutting dealerships across the continent as the company tries to adapt to changing consumer habits which are seeing customers visit car dealers less and less.


Don’t have kittens due to driving anger! Help the worlds worst driving family keep their cool behind the wheel with IAM RoadSmart’s new app.


IAM RoadSmart’s brand new app called IAM RoadTrip offers the chance to meet the world’s worst driving family – and the opportunity to help them become safer drivers on a series of journeys designed to be both fun and factual at the same time.


The family of five animals Bull, Tortoise, Panda, Pup and Kitten - are part of the app created by the UK’s biggest road safety charity to get across in a humorous way how easy it is to improve your road skills before you set foot in a vehicle.


The app takes users through a light-hearted journey and covers a variety of topics from driving around a bend, parking, managing the school run to driving with a baby on board. With a myriad of subjects covered, the app targets a wide range of drivers to help as many people as possible with practical driving tips and advice.


The app is available on Android and Apple and can be downloaded from the App store (Apple devices) or Google play store (Android devices) by searching for IAM RoadTrip. You can also see further details at https://www.iamroadsmart.com/iam-roadtrip-app

Can you help Kitten and Pup handle a trip to the supermarket without having a calamity? And avoid any parking tickets or fines? Well this is your chance to help them!

There is a chance to ‘collect’ road signs as you improve and see your name rise up the scoreboard against your friends!


Sarah Sillars, IAM RoadSmart Chief Executive Officer, said: “While there is no substitute for actual driving practice, our app is a fun way to get young people into the driving habit, of knowing how to react to road situations in a fun way – and of course helping our animal family not get into any silly mishaps on the way!”


Sarah added: “It’s all a way of getting novices into a mindset that will give them skills for life.”


How to avoid becoming a victim of road rage.

 - Tips from IAM RoadSmart -

We have all come across road rage at some point in our driving lives. When it happens, it can leave you feeling intimidated and scared. But with a bit of planning you can prevent the situation altogether. Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards, provides a few top tips about how to avoid being a victim of road rage, and what to do if it escalates.



Hopefully by now the matter is over and you are driving away. Do acknowledge that this incident will have affected your behaviour. If you feel upset or emotional pull over and get some fresh air or walk around if you need to before resuming your journey.


Find some distraction like listening to the radio - move your mind deliberately onto something else – deliberately driving well would be a good example – but don’t dwell on the incident.

Richard said: “Road rage does not affect everyone every day. If you’re finding it is happening very often, you might want to think about how you engage with other road users.


“Unlike pedestrians walking towards each other; who can easily get a feel of what the other person will do, where they might go or the mood they’re in, you have no such opportunities cocooned in your car.”


He concluded: “No-one need experience road rage, but it us up to each of us to ensure it stays that way.


“So it is important not to be antagonistic or obstructive, perhaps making a person already having a bad day boil over.”


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