The money markets are not looking any better, Greece seems to be the centre of the Universe and has stated it is going to default on part of its debt, a bank in Belgium is about to run out of money, Italy has just had its credit rating reduced and the good old British banks don't seem to be lending any money to anybody. I don't know where this is going to end, the optimist in me says that some very clever people somewhere will see this is getting really serious and will do something really clever to sort it out ?

I have to say I'm losing the plot a little and I don't fully understand the twists and turns of what is needed to get us all back on track and the stable but my partner put this into context for me so I will leave you with her thoughts before moving on to September's figures.

" If all the countries haven't got any money left and can't repay what they owe, the stock market seems to have lost all their money, business's don't have any and can't borrow any because the banks don't have it either, where has all the money gone ? It was there, governments printed it so it existed but everybody seems to have lost it, so where is it, somebody must have it !! "

I had to stop and think about a sensible answer to this and then couldn't !!

In amongst all of this turmoil the Motor Industry seems to be holding its own. September's figures show a now familiar trend. New car registrations were slightly ahead of expectations at 0.8% down on last year, if you dig a bit deeper you will see that retail sales are down 9.3% but fleet and business sales pulled the figures back being up 7.3% & 13.4% respectively.

Van sales continue to forge ahead up 9.4% (18.5% YTD), trucks are up 3.6% (21.3% YTD) and if you are lucky enough to be into Artics they are up 29.4% (101.4% YTD) and nearly back to pre-recession levels. This seems to be a combination of long term confidence in the business market, the fact that vehicles are wearing out and the need for newer more economical fleets.

I'm sure it doesn't need pointing out but anybody with a showroom full of retail sales people should be re-directing some of them toward business users for the time being until the retail market bounces back.

I would be pleased to receive any thoughts or comments that you might have on what I have said and am always happy to engage in exchanging views.

Andy Norman
JGA Associate Director
South West Region