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Afternoon round-up: New car and van sales down, Porsche plugs-in, autonomous tech legal battle


January car and van sales down

The UK new car market fell by 6.3% year-on-year in January 2018, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Ford Fiesta Best-Selling Car of 2017Business, private and fleet sales were down 29.7%, 9.5% and 1.8% respectively. Diesel registrations also fell by 25.6% but petrol and alternative fuel sales were up 8.5% and 23.9% respectively.

January LCV sales were down 4.2%, as small vans (under two tonnes) fell by 28.9% year-on-year. Sales of pick-ups and large vans fell by 2.3% and 1.8% respectively, and medium vans weighing 2.0-2.5 were up 1.2%.

“The ongoing and substantial decline in new diesel car registrations is concerning, particularly since the evidence indicates consumers and businesses are not switching into alternative technologies, but keeping their older cars running,” said SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes.

“Given fleet renewal is the fastest way to improve air quality and reduce CO2, we need government policy to encourage take up of the latest advanced low emission diesels as, for many drivers, they remain the right choice economically and environmentally.”

Porsche to plough €6bn into electric tech

Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive Board of Porsche AGPorsche has announced plans to invest more than €6 billion in electric technology by 2022 to develop plug-in hybrids, full-electric vehicles and associated infrastructure.

“We are doubling our expenditure on electromobility from around three billion euro to more than six billion euro”, said Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive Board of Porsche AG.

“Alongside development of our models with combustion engines, we are setting an important course for the future with this decision.”

Autonomous car tech giants start legal wrangle

Tech giants Uber and Google are to begin a legal battle in San Francisco today, over claims that the former company stole trade secrets relating to autonomous car technology from the latter.

Lidar technology in actionThe issue relates to former Google employee Anthony Levandowski, who then founded autonomous truck company Otto, which was subsequently bought by Uber.

Waymo – Google’s autonomous vehicle arm – alleges that Levandowski took more than 14,000 documents relating to Lidar (light detection and ranging) technology (an example of which is pictured) when he left the company, which have since been put to use by Uber.

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