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4x4’s weather the political storm

Glass’s has reported that the debate about four-wheel drive vehicles on the UK's urban roads is having little impact on sales – or residual values - in the new and used car market.

London mayor Ken Livingston has been outspoken in his criticism of 4x4, Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), and there has been suggestions that owners should pay double the congestion charge in London.

"However, demand remains very high for SUVs, particularly at the prestige end of the market where depreciation for diesel variants remains amongst the slowest for any type of vehicle on the road," says Jeff Paterson, senior car editor at Glass's.

"Until legislation is put forward seeking to proactively restrict the use of such vehicles, there is little prospect that there will be any tail off in demand, or a marked fall in residual values, over the short- to medium-term."

According to Glass's, sales of new four-wheel drive vehicles as a proportion of the entire UK new car market have been growing consistently over the past three years, and show little sign of slowing down:

  • 12 months to Aug 2002: 5.1%
  • 12 months to Aug 2003: 5.7%
  • 12 months to Aug 2004: 6.5%

    Glass's says new Volvo XC90s and BMW X5 diesels currently have waiting lists of around six months, and can even be sold immediately after delivery for premiums of around £1,000 over the original list price.

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