The updated Volkswagen T-Cross, via PAThe updated Volkswagen T-Cross, via PA

News Round-Up

Jan 5: New car market up 18% in 2023; Sainsbury’s staff pay hike; Updated T-Cross on sale

  • Here are the headlines for Friday, January 5

Time 6:33 am, January 5, 2024

New car market grew by nearly 18% in 2023

The number of new cars registered in the UK grew by around 17.9% last year, new figures show.

Some 1.9 million new cars were registered in 2023, according to preliminary data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The rise was driven entirely by businesses investing in large fleets (up 38.7% year on year), with demand from private consumers remaining stable at around 818,000 units. Car Dealer will be reporting on the full data, plus December’s figures, when it’s released at 9am today.

Sainsbury’s to raise hourly pay for 120,000 staff

Sainsbury’s is to hike the hourly wages of 120,000 staff as part of £200m-worth of investment in pay increases.

The supermarket chain, which also owns Argos, said hourly paid employees will see their salaries increase from £11 per hour to £12 per hour in March.

Staff in London, where living costs are typically higher, will be paid £13.15 per hour – up from £11.95.

Next boss cautions over stock delays from Red Sea attacks

The boss of retail giant Next has said attacks on container ships in the Red Sea are set to delay stock deliveries and hit sales if they continue to disrupt the vital Suez Canal shipping route.

Lord Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next, told the PA news agency it could take another two to two and a half weeks for its stock to reach the UK if ships are forced to continue bypassing the Red Sea.

Attacks by Houthi rebels on vessels in the Suez Canal have seen the world’s largest shipping firms halt movements through the Red Sea, with the diversions adding thousands of miles to journeys, which is driving up costs and leading to delays.

Badenoch to push for upgraded trade deal with Turkey during Istanbul visit

The government is pushing for an upgraded trade deal with Turkey, as business secretary Kemi Badenoch visits Istanbul.

The two countries have a deal that covers goods but not services, digital or data.

Investment in manufacturing, tech and transport is also expected to be discussed during the visit, with Badenoch saying that ‘Turkey presents huge opportunities for UK businesses’.

Petrol prices down by 6p a litre in December

Drivers benefited from a 6p per litre fall in petrol prices last month, new figures show.

The average price of the fuel at UK forecourts decreased from 146.7p on December 1 to 140.6p on December 31, the RAC said. Meanwhile, the average price of a litre of diesel fell from 154.3p to 149.2p in December.

But the RAC said pump prices should be reduced further as the average supermarket margin on fuel was 13p per litre last month, which is more than double what it was in 2021.

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Giuffre was sex-trafficked to two respected politicians and Andrew – court files

Virginia Giuffre claimed she was sex-trafficked to the Duke of York and ‘two of the world’s most respected politicians’, court documents show.

A US judge ordered hundreds of documents to be unsealed as part of Ms Giuffre’s previously settled civil claim against disgraced British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, which was filed in 2015.

The names of the two politicians in the email remain redacted. The duke strenuously denies any wrongdoing.

Islamic State admits to Iran bombings that killed at least 84

The so-called Islamic State group admitted responsibility yesterday for two suicide bombings targeting a memorial service for an Iranian general killed in a 2020 US drone strike.

Experts who follow the group confirmed that the statement, circulated online among jihadists, came from the extremists, who probably hope to take advantage of the chaos gripping the region amid the Israel/Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

Wednesday’s attack in Kerman, targeting a ceremony honouring Revolutionary Guard general Qassem Soleimani, killed at least 84 people and wounded another 284.

Inside the updated Volkswagen T-Cross, via PA

Updated Volkswagen T-Cross goes on sale

An updated version of Volkswagen’s T-Cross SUV has gone on sale priced from £23,695, with first deliveries expected in the spring.

Design changes are fairly small but include new LED lighting at the front and rear, with more advanced matrix LED headlights available for the first time.

Inside, the T-Cross comes with a new free-standing touchscreen as standard. The engine choice is fairly conventional, with 1.0-litre petrol engines with either 94bhp or 113bhp offered, as well as a 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol with a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

Unsold Christmas trees on menu for elephants and bison at Berlin Zoo

There was some post-Christmas cheer on the menu for elephants and other animals at Berlin Zoo – they’ve been chomping on Christmas trees that didn’t find a home.

The tree treats were unwrapped yesterday in what has become an annual event.

The zoo takes only fresh, unsold trees from select vendors and doesn’t accept trees from the public, as they could contain chemicals or leftover decorations.

Yesterday’s headlines on Car Dealer you might have missed

Market movements

The FTSE 100 closed 40.74 points up yesterday to end the day on 7,723.07. The Cac 40 was up 38.77 points at 7,450.63, the Dax was up 78.90 points at 16,617.29, and the Dow Jones was up 10.15 points at 37,440.34.

Weather outlook

Today will be mainly cloudy across the north and east with showery spells of rain, says BBC Weather. Elsewhere in the UK, there will be brighter spells and a few scattered showers, heavier at times in Wales.

Saturday will see overnight fog patches slow to clear mainly across western areas, but it’ll be a brighter day for many, with the occasional isolated shower otherwise. It’ll be cloudier in eastern England and far northern Scotland.

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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