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News » Analysis

Speeding ahead
10 October, 2019

Sales of electric cars in the UK are currently minuscule compared with their internal combustion engine (ICE) cousins, but the country's biggest-selling car maker is gearing up for a rapid change in this state of affairs. At the Frankfurt Motor Show last month, Ford announced that it expects the majority of its sales will be electrified by the end of 2022. This will require a major shake-up in the UK car market because in the year to August battery and hybrid cars achieved a combined market share of 7.5%, up from 6% for the same period a year ago. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were the star performers up 93.1%, from 9,009 units to 17,393, and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) performed strongly up 20.2% from 50,739 units to 60,989, but demand for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) collapsed earlier this year after the government removed tax incentives, and their sales were down 37% from 27,918 units to 17,594. These figures are dwarfed, however, by the 994,941 petrol engine cars sold over the same period, up 2.4% on a year ago and with a market share of 65.5%, and diesel sales of 410,012, down 19.3% after well-publicised problems but still taking a 27% market share.

A moving target?
09 September, 2019

In July 2017, when the government published its long-awaited clean air strategy and its Road to Zero transport policy, its confirmation that it would ban sales of conventional internal combustion engine cars and vans by 2040 met with very little opposition. Just the fact that it had set a firm cut-off date for sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans was enough to satisfy most environmentalists, while vehicle manufacturers and fuel companies agreed that 2040 gave them enough time to adapt.

We should be 'celling' the future
06 August, 2019

A future where battery- powered and hybrid vehicles are superseded by vehicles running on hydrogen fuel cells was predicted by Jon Hunt, manager, alternative fuels, at Toyota. Speaking at a conference organised by the Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum, he explained why the company that produced the world's first mass-produced, battery-powered car, and hybrid, was now working towards a future where hydrogen fuel cells become the predominant technology.

Emission impossible
09 July, 2019

Government indecision over the introduction of E10 a blend of fuel with up to 10% ethanol content compared with the current limit of 5% in E5 is nothing new. It was just after the London Olympics in 2012 when the then Transport Minister Norman Baker wrote to industry associations to tell them the government had changed its mind on E10. It had been expected to give the go ahead towards the end of that year, but after many consumers rejected the new fuel when it was introduced in Germany, the government decided it was too soon because it was not compatible with an estimated 20% of cars on UK roads.

C-store growth rate set to soar
07 June, 2019

New market analysis by HIM, revealed by insight director Gareth Nash, predicts that the growth rate in the convenience sector in 2019 will accelerate, with overall turnover up 3.5% to £41.7bn, compared with a growth rate of 2.7% last year. He said the growth rate had been slowing slightly over the past three years, with competition from the discounters, rising business costs and declining tobacco sales all having an impact. But this year the sector is set for a "strong growth rate" well ahead of the grocery market average.

Fuelling the future
17 May, 2019

The UK is lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of automotive hydrogen development, with countries such as China, Korea and Japan pushing ahead at a rapid rate, according to Charles Purkess, business development manager at ITM Power. He was part of the 'Fuelling the Future: On the Road to Zero' session chaired by TV presenter and motoring journalist Quentin Willson, at last month's Forecourt Show. The packed event featured PRA chairman Brian Madderson; BP Chargemaster CEO Dave Newton; TSG UK's business development director of EV Solutions, Michelle Machesney; and petroleum manager of the London Fire Brigade, Clare Scawthorn.

Last throw of the dice
08 April, 2019

When the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its damning provisional findings on the proposed merger between Sainsbury's and Asda on February 20, many commentators thought the deal was dead.

A year of upheaval
11 March, 2019

This year has seen massive upheaval in the Top 50 Indies listing, compared with 2018 when not only were the Top 10 companies all the same companies as the previous year, but they were all in the same order too. Not least among the changes is that, for the first time in its existence, the Top 50 is not headed by MRH. It was swallowed up by MFG last year, making the combined organisation well over twice the size of its nearest rival and taking top spot for the first time.

Evading the issue
11 February, 2019

When a Parliamentary Committee of MPs announced last year that it was launching an inquiry into the hand car wash sector it appeared that a long campaign was finally paying off. For years the PRA and its sister organisation, the Car Wash Association (CWA), have been highlighting the explosion in the numbers of rogue operators, and calling for action by the authorities. By paying no taxes, using slave labour and ignoring pollution regulations, these operators were able to undercut legitimate car washes, driving many of them out of the sector.

Competition for growth still intense
11 January, 2019

We've just had a year of seismic events with the second largest operator, MFG, buying its larger rival MRH, and Sainsbury's agreeing a deal with Asda that would make it the UK's number one road fuel retailer. And while one deal has cleared all its regulatory hurdles, and the other is facing an uphill struggle in its engagement with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), both are likely to continue to reverberate through the coming year.

When a major car manufacturer like Ford predicts that sales of its electrified cars will outnumber petrol and diesel models by 2022, does that ring alarm bells about the possible speed of change for forecourts?