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Cost of petrol causes drivers to review choice of car

The escalating cost of petrol, particularly diesel, is having a major impact on the choice of cars people are buying according to Motorpoint – the UK’s leading car supermarket.

Figures for the first quarter of 2008 show a sharp increase in the sales of small cars such as Ford Fiesta, Fiat Grande Punto, Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa as motorists look at ways of offsetting recent price hikes at the pumps.

And, in a clear demonstration that the advent of the £5 gallon of petrol is affecting buying behaviour, Motorpoint customers are also turning their backs on diesels in record numbers and opting for petrol engines instead. For example, six times as many people bought the petrol version of the Vauxhall Corsa (1.2 16v Club) compared with the diesel.

Says David Shelton, Managing Director at Motorpoint: “While the credit crunch has impacted on the economy, our sales figures show it hasn’t slowed down the number of people buying new and nearly new cars. What is clear though is that people are becoming ever more conscious of fuel consumption, and as a result, small cars are proving extremely popular.”

At the other end of the spectrum, sales of 4x4s are showing signs of slowing , as customers become ever more conscious not just of the cost of petrol but also changes to road car tax. In the recent Budget, the Chancellor announced a new top band for the most polluting vehicles (those with over 265g/km CO2 emissions).