Despite some of the gloom and doom preached after Christmas with falling stock markets and industrial job losses, some areas of the economy are still performing well.

The motor trade had a great year in 2007 with the release of the SSIA savings money and it was the best period since the Millennium hype.

Predictions were not strong for this year, thus it might come as a surprise as to how well trade has stood up in January. Car sales were almost like for like with last year, which is a very good performance. Other months may not be as good, but it is certainly a good boost for the trade.

Budget changes on motor tax may affect sales of larger sized vehicles later in the year, which could be an influence. There is also a move towards encouraging diesel cars at the expense of petrol driven vehicles.

The new hybrid vehicles that use electric and petrol could also see sales growth. Energy saving will become a huge topic in the years ahead.

Fuel efficiency and mileage per gallon, or km per litre as we should say today, will become more a factor in sales decisions as petrol and diesel prices remain high. The new figures must give some hope to the motor trade for the coming year.