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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 January 2007, 07:03 GMT
Car bosses say 4x4 demand falling
A 4x4 car
4x4 sales have dropped in the UK
The popularity of 4x4s is set to falter in 2007, a report says.

A global survey of 150 car industry executives by financial firm KPMG claims sales will be hit by higher fuel prices and environmental concerns.

The executives believe fuel efficiency will become the most important of the criteria for buying a car.

Monthly sales in the UK are falling, currently standing at about 15% lower than a year earlier - and affected by moves to penalise the vehicles.

Opponents of the cars dislike their fuel consumption and some also believe they make congestion worse.

Fuel pricing

Motor industry analyst Mark Fulthorpe, of CSM Worldwide, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme drivers in North America and Europe were becoming more concerned about fuel economy.

"The North American consumer seems to be waking up to some consciousness with regard to fuel pricing, and those designs are typically the heaviest and least fuel efficient," he said.

"Increasingly they are looking at newer, lighter designs particularly from the Japanese and Korean manufacturers. We also see that in Europe as well."

In London, the congestion charge is to be raised for highly-polluting vehicles and one council is considering linking the cost of parking to the size of cars.

In March, UK Chancellor Gordon Brown raised vehicle excise duty for the most polluting petrol-fuelled cars to 210 ($409).


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