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Review of 2010 car news and car developments

"The biggest stories from 2010"

2010 continued to be a depressing year for car makers. The cash for clunkers and the car scrappage schemes helped to move numbers of new cars. Sadly though the winners in this were the low value Malaysian, Korean and Japanese car makers. The various scrappage schemes ended toward the last quarter and as a result car sales slowed up once more.

Depressingly car sales for the last few months of the year in the UK were even lower than they were in the already depressed 2009 sales year. Most economies and cuts have already been made and the remaining car makers seem stable enough to ride out this storm.

It is a real shame to see so many "good" cars taken off the road and scrapped. Whilst the boost to the economy is a good thing we have to question the sense of removing serviceable cars from circulation. Used car prices have continued to be quite stable and some models saw the lowest ever 1 year depreciation.

2010 the year of belt tightening and weight reduction. Hopefully things will level out in 2011 (except for fuel prices).

Anyone looking to buy a 2-3 year old car will be hard pressed to find a suitable car at a reasonable price. If you can afford to buy new then this is probably the best time to do so as depreciation, the biggest hidden cost of car ownership is so low on many high end models. For example the Honda Civic loses only 15% of it's value and an Audi A3 26% over 3 years. The one year depreciation figures are even more impressive due to dealers cutting back orders and there being a greater demand.

2010 depreciation

Fuel prices also continued to rise and in the UK they ended the year at an all new high which is rather depressing considering that there is a further car fuel tax hike going on in January.

The F1 2010 was won by Sebastian Vettel, a well deserved win. The drivers championship was pretty close right up to the line. We eagerly await the flexible rear wings and wonder what these will do for performance. There was lots of really good races in 2010 and it proved to be a vintage year for.

As far as interesting new models for 2010 there are some interesting developments,  Ford introduced the Focus RS500 with a rather novel Matt black wrap proving that a FWD can be every bit as good as a RWD at getting the power down. Many hailed 2010 as the year of the all electric car but we still have only seen 3 models launched and people seem reticent to try something new. Supercar makers seem to have spent the year stripping out weight from their cars and charging a premium.

Euro emissions levels are set for another reduction and we are seeing some amazing engines putting out less that 100g of CO2. Most manufacturers are using turbo chargers and small capacity engines to achieve this and we are seeing a lot of manufacturers dropping their thirsty V6 and V8 engines from their lineups. 

We were overjoyed to hear that Lotus are planning a major relaunch with some superb looking cars in the pipeline.

So what will 2011 hold for us? We expect that used car sales will plateau through the year remaining slack but steady. Car makers will attempt to push limited edition models to attract buyers and car owners will hold onto their cars for longer.

The BP oil spill reminded us of the risk and high cost of oil production. As oil reserves get lower we will get further

We are also seeing an increase in DIY car servicing with many looking for ways to save money.

As fuel prices increase we expect that people will continue to bite the bullet and keep paying out. The Eco argument for fuel tax just doesn't seem to play out. We are seeing diesel cars getting a larger portion of car sales, probably down to the superb fuel economy and fantastic amounts of torque on offer.

GranTurismo 5 was also launched, the much awaited and hyped PlayStation 3 driving simulator and it reportedly shifted well over 5 million copies in the first 12 days. The game thankfully does live up to the hype and is every bit as good it needed to be. It is in our opinion the most complete driving simulator out there and it gives a realistic portrayal of the many different types of drive trains and car configurations.

2011 might prove to be the year of the gearbox with a couple of very interesting developments in highly efficient designs, set to replace the dual clutch systems. We are surprised that semi automatics with paddle shifters have not caught on more than they have. Try one, you certainly wont be disappointed and it guarantees peak performance and economy.

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