We review the car-related stories making the papers today.
Suzuki's gloomy prediction
Osamu Suzuki, president of Suzuki Motors, predicts that Japan's car industry will eventually shrink to just three manufacturers because of the global financial crisis, according to the Times. The newspaper quotes Suzuki saying: 'It is as if tsunami waves are rolling toward Japanese shores. I believe a real wave will hit us around July or August next year. More than 10 Japanese car makers could be consolidated into a Japan Big Three.'
Global car production falls
The same paper reports that global car production will fall by 10%, but analysts Pricewaterhouse Coopers expect a rise in production in 2010.
Billionaire investor sells Ford shares
The Financial Times reports that billionaire Kirk Kerkorian has sold his shares in Ford. He had built up a 6.5% stake in the company but started selling them in October.
The Finanical Times
Health checks for drivers
The lead story in the Daily Telegraph is that motorists will have a range of new health checks to determine if they are fit to drive, according to proposals to be set out next year. The DVLA will issue a series of physical and mental requirments, including eyesight performance and reaction times. The paper reports that an estimated 3 million motorists over 70 will be using UK roads by 2021.
The Daily Telegraph
BBC cutbacks affect Top Gear
Top Gear will have to scale back its spectacular stunts because of BBC budget cuts. The Telegraph reports that executive producer Andy Wilman said BBC cutbacks would take their toll on Top Gear because 'there is no fat to trim off the show.'
The Daily Telegraph
Footballer held after motorway crash
Sheffield United striker Jordan Robertson has been arrested after a fatal motorway crash on Christmas Day. Robertson is understood to have been using a mobile phone when his Mercedes collided with another car on the M1. The driver of the other vehicle, Omar Mohammad, 38, died in hospital.
The Daily Mail
Speed cameras switched off
The Mirror reports that two in five speed cameras are switched off, but are left in place to 'spook' motorists. A police source told the paper: 'Loads of cameras were put up in the 90s but when new guidelines were set out six or seven years ago about where Gatsos could be put, loads of them didn't meet the criteria. They have been left in place to scare motorists. They have a deterrent effect and encourage safe driving.'