You ain't seen global gridlock yet


HARD SHOULDER:Last year might have been bad for the European car industry, not to mention the motor trade in Ireland, but across the world more cars than ever were built in 2011 – about 76.8 million units, beating the previous record of 74.4 million in 2010. And that nudges us up to another very significant mark – one billion cars in total on the roads.

If you add light trucks to the equation, 2011’s figures mean there are 979 million vehicles on the world’s roads. By the end of this year we will almost certainly have crossed the billion mark – with car-hungry buyers still out there in China, India and Africa. Global gridlock, here we come.

A Mini with proper space for adults

Mini has revealed its Paceman coupe: a two-door version of the four-door Countryman. Confused? You might well be, but by using the Countryman as a basis for the Paceman, Mini can at last offer a swoopy three-door with proper space in the back for adults.

It goes on sale in Ireland next March from €26,660 for the 1.6 petrol Cooper and from €29,000 for the 1.6 diesel.

Kia reveals rakishly sporty Pro-Ceed

Kia has revealed its hot-looking three-door Pro-Ceed version of its popular Ceed hatchback ahead of its imminent debut at the Paris Motor Show. The new hatch picks up from where the old one left off, with a rakishly sporty profile and more than a hint of Audi in its looks. Hardly surprising when you remember the car’s designer, Peter Schreyer, was poached by Kia from Audi a decade ago. The new Pro-Ceed will go on sale at the end of this year, the same 1.6-litre diesel as the five-door and estate Ceeds, but there are rumours, as yet unconfirmed by Kia, that a properly sporting 200bhp Golf GTI rivalling version will be made.

Up to €4,000 off low-use Renaults

Renault is offering up to €4,000 off low-mileage models this month. The promotion applies to 2012-registered Meganes and Fluences. They were part of the summer hire-drive fleet for dealer demonstrators. Renault is also adding 0 per cent finance over four years. The cars also come with five-year unlimited-mileage warranties (which began when the cars were first registered).

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