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Twenty years ago and as technology improved, we all expected our cars to get bigger, as a sign of our success. And today, the average new car boasts more computer technology than it took to put the first man on the moon. Thanks to this technology, the cars we drive today are cleaner, safer and more fuel efficient than ever before. Technology that just a few years ago was the reserve of multi million pound concept cars is now available in the most basic of models and yet remarkably, the real cost of a new car has fallen.

As consumer expectations climb, the demands on technology climb too. The motoring public drive choice and competition in the market place as the industry strives to keep pace. Every model, whatever the price, has to meet the most exacting of standards.

Twenty years ago it was not unusual for the owner of even the most modern vehicle to undertake a variety of regular maintenance tasks. Today with stringent emission limits, electronic control systems and sensor technology only a fully trained technician should be lifting the bonnet. For some this means car ownership has lost the charm of previous generations, for most however it means fewer services, lower maintenance costs and reliability as standard.

As I look back, I feel proud to be associated with an industry that has contributed so much to improving urban air quality and reducing the number and severity of road accidents. And as we look to the future and the increasing challenge of climate change, I know the motor industry will continue to develop technology that will make a fundamental difference, at a price people can afford.

Paul Everitt
Chief Executive,
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

Executive summary