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THE WEEK THAT WAS: And so, what of 2015?

By Graeme Roberts | 13 February 2015

Auto soothsayers: the net picture for the global light vehicle market is likely to be one of growth again

Auto soothsayers: the net picture for the global light vehicle market is likely to be one of growth again

Analysis-r-us so let's start there this week, shall we?

Dave Leggett in the first of a series - set your recorder - has been looking at LMC Automotive's projections for 2015 global vehicle sales, starting with North America. Pull up a coffee and enjoy.

Speaking of forecasts, lots of us have been eyeing developments in Russia and we have had so many stories to tell we have packaged 'em all together into one or our world famous Hot Topics. Dig in here while still fresh.

Driverless cars are becoming reality inch by inch and this week the UK approved them, well, testing anyway, and no doubt subject to terms and conditions. So that made this a good week for Matthew Beecham to ask some questions about the R&D side.

When driverless personal transportation is eventually ubiquitous (Google it), we in the UK will have been well conditioned by public transport because the Docklands Light Railway in east London has been minus drivers since day one in 1987 (so called train captains can take over in emergency) and those willing to pay Heathrow's extortionate business class parking rates trundle happily back and forth to the terminals in driverless 'pods'. And, if dinosaur unions are ever tamed, London's tube/underground/metro could be driverless very quickly; newer lines (for decades) have already been all but fully automated.

Although I can't see it happening fully in my lifetime, driverless cars will be a boon to the many who can't or are not allowed to drive conventional cars; my 'legally blind' wife looks forward to the day she can smartphone a 'pod' to her door and go weekend shopping without having to first dynamite me and the cats off the sofa. Until then, her 'driverless cars' are conventional taxis.

Finally, a development at the automaker formerly known as Saab. In a move eerily reminiscent of the dismantling of MG Rover after it went bust, NEVS has approval to finish assembling 100 cars that have sat on the Swedish line since the last finance plug was pulled last May. At MGR it was ruthless - from here on we finish, from here back, we crush. Painted shells, bodies in white in the conveyor all the way back across the main road to the welding shop - turned into scrap. Today, most of what was once a huge car factory complex is 'land available', new houses, a hotel, a supermarket, etc.

Hope it turns out better for NEVs.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com