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New car sales hit six-year high

New car sales raced to a six-year high in 2013, the motor industry has announced.

A total of 2,264,737 new cars were registered in 2013 - a 10.8 percent rise on the 2012 figure and the best annual total since the pre-recession year of 2007, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said.

The Ford Fiesta was the top selling car. Credit: Oliver Berg/DPA/Press Association Images

The 2013 total was boosted by a 23.76 percent rise, to nearly 153,000, in sales in December - the 22nd successive month of increases

Millions spent on extra premium car insurance costs

The Competition Commission is to look at ways of reducing the cost of car insurance premiums. Credit: PA Wire

The Competition Commission claimed that in most cases the party managing the accident claim - typically the non-fault insurer or intermediary - was not the party liable to pay the costs of the claim.

The commission estimates the extra premium costs due to the separation of control and liability on replacement cars and repairs to be between £150 million and £200 million a year.

It is considering whether to make a driver's own insurer responsible for providing a replacement vehicle or to give at-fault insurers greater opportunity to take control over managing claims.

There may also be caps on the cost of providing a replacement vehicle and on repair costs, as well as compulsory audits of repair quality after the watchdog found that following an accident too many repairs were not completed to the required standard.

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Drivers footing the bill for 'unnecessary insurance costs'

Too many drivers are footing the bill for unnecessary costs incurred during the insurance claims process following an accident, the Competition Commission believes.

These costs are initially borne by the insurers of at-fault drivers, but they feed through into increased insurance premiums for all drivers, the watchdog said.

Alasdair Smith, who is leading the investigation, said:

We are now considering a range of possible measures, some of them far-reaching reforms, to ensure that the market better serves the interests of customers.

Dark-coloured cars rise in popularity with drivers

The number of people buying black-coloured cars has soared by 9% in the last two years, according to an AA/Poplus survey.

Black is now only marginally behind blue as the most popular car colour, with silver the number one hue.

Black-coloured cars rise in popularity. Credit: Arne Dedert/DPA/Press Association

Red continues to slide down the colour table, losing out to black for third place and slipping to fourth.

The next most popular colours are green, white, yellow and beige. The results come as the new "63" number plates go on sale. Silver remains the most popular car colour at 29%.

'World's dearest' video game launched for £125K

Video games manufacturers pride themselves on giving gamers a realistic experience, but for £125,000 you can go a step further.

A one-off edition of the new racing game GRID 2 will come with a "free" road-legal racing car customised to look like one of the virtual cars in the game.

The British-manufactured BAC Mono racing car that comes 'free' with the game Credit: BAC Mono/Codemasters

The buyer - who may enter the Guinness Book of Records along with the game - will also get a PlayStation3, full race outfit and a tour of the BAC Mono factory where the car was built.

Neill Briggs, a founding director of BAC-Mono, said the company has already been approached by "quite a lot of people who have expressed more than an interest".

GRID2 goes on sale in the UK today.

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Nissan: Chance of steering wheel coming off

Over time, the nut that holds on the steering wheel can become loose.

Drivers could start notice some wobbling of the wheel and if this is ignored there is the possibility that it could come completely off.

There have been a few incidents of steering wheels becoming loose, but there have been no accidents.

– Nissan Motor GB spokesman

Japanese airbag recall affects total of 3.4 million cars

Toyota has said the replacement of airbag inflators will take a few hours for each vehicle. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The scope of the Japanese airbag problem is a little wider than first reported, with a total of around 3.4 million vehicles set to be recalled worldwide.

The recall includes 490,000 cars in Europe and 580,000 from North America.

The concern is that airbags in front of the vehicles' front passenger seat may not inflate when required, a spokesman for Toyota said.

He added that no injuries or deaths had been reported because of the fault.

Speed cameras switched off to save costs

Speed cameras have been switched off in part of the UK because they are too costly to run.

The last of the West Midlands' 304 fixed cameras ceased operating today following a decision by West Midlands Police last year.

The decision has the backing of the region's councils which make up the West Midlands Road Safety Partnership Board, with the police now using mobile speed cameras instead.

Speed cameras have been switched off in part of the UK. Credit: PA Wire

Budget cuts are at the heart of decision says West Midlands Police's Assistant Chief Constable Garry Forsyth.

It has been the force's job to manage and pay to run the sites, including traffic light cameras, with councils paying for maintenance.

However, the cash-strapped local authorities balked at the estimated £580,000 cost of upgrading the cameras to digital film, and do not have the money to continue running them. Removing the cameras would cost £600,000.

The police are now using mobile cameras at speeding hotspots across Birmingham, Coventry, and the Black Country.

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