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NewsinsightNews digestRemarketing analysisSalesfiguresFuel pricesCar RecruitmentreviewsManufacturer newsBy Simon Harris, deputy editor, Fleet NewsMeteorologically speaking we are now in autumn, although from recent experience of the weather it might seem like it's been here for many weeks.Over the next few weeks, some fleets will be switching to cold weather tyres, and three of the cars Fleet News has on test will be fitted with winter rubber.Few people can now doubt the performance benefits of these specialised tyres even if they still think the previous two harsh winters are a blip in the cycle of our typically mild winters.The message that needs to be understood is that the advantages are evident below 7°C on dry roads, and on almost any wet road.Switching tyres is not free of charge. Although you probably end up using the same number of tyres per vehicle over its fleet life, you effectively pay to store one set of tyres permanently.But how many user-choosers have asked you about which 4x4s they could have for their next car to help keep them mobile over the winter? Ask them this: which will be able stop first in an emergency on an icy road - a 4x4 or a 2WD car on cold weather tyres?EDITOR'S COMMENT"Few people can doubt the benefits of cold weather tyres"standstill after 35 metres. With standard tyres the braking distance would be 43 metres - another two car lengths.Cold weather tyres are composed of more rubber and less silicone than standard tyres so they don't harden as much when it is cold. They work best in temperatures below 7ºC and have wider grooves, which have greater grip in snow and slush and more sideways grooves to give more edges and contact with the road surface.TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson said: "For any driver concerned about their safety on the road during the winter, our advice is simple. Cold weather tyres are the safest option."TyreSafe is pushing the benefits of cold weather tyres as it approaches tyre safety month in October and the reasons why can be clearly seen in a new online movie which can be viewed at www.tyresafe.orgCold weather tyres are a legal requirement in other EU countries such as Austria, Germany and Finland and many offer specific winter recommendations. However, there is no legislation or guidance in this country and Continental identified that only 47% of motorists are aware cold weather tyres exist.Meteorologist James Madden, of Exacta Weather, predicts October will see below average temperatures and snow in places, with heavier and more widespread snow storms in November and worse to come in December and January. Madden warned: "No region is likely to escape the harsh winter, not even the south. However, we expect Scotland, north east England, northern England and Northern Ireland will be the worst hit. I'd be surprised if we don't see weather records being broken."Cold weather tyres cut stopping distances in snow

Registrations were down by 44.7% which, even after allowing for the vagaries of August, is remark­able, and compares to a 22.6% drop YTD for the French brand. The biggest winner among the major brands last month was Kia, whose fleet sales rose by 69.6% - although we are all still getting used to classifying Kia as a major brand. Just how major was under­lined by the boss of Nissan in Japan saying publicly that he "wished the Koreans would slow down" (although it should be said that Nissan itself is doing pretty well in the UK). The fact that Kia tied with Toyota in the UK last month is the most telling statistic of all. So now attention turns to September, which is going to be as vicious a battleground as it has ever been. As one car company boss put it at the start of this September, "If you added up all the targets of every manufacturer for September, you would come up with 120Sales figuresSlight fall in fleet sales as Vauxhall grabs top spotBy Jay Nagley, Spyder AutomotiveAugust is always the hardest month to draw any conclusion from. It is like being given two grains of sand and being asked to describe the whole beach.With that proviso, one can say that the fleet market was broadly stable last month, with an overall market share of 55.6%. This was down slightly on the 57.0% of August 2010, but YTD share is still very strong at 53.0%.At a manufacturer level, Ford is starting its counter-attack against Vauxhall now that the new Focus is in freer supply. We also hear that there have been supply issues with the 2.0 diesel in the Mondeo, which are now fixed - so Mondeo share may rise in the final quarter. The fight between the two market leaders is going to remain extremely intense, as both companies have the best ranges of cars in their history. Indeed the quality of their products is insulating them to some extent from losing market share. Evidence suggests that increasing sales of Hyundais and Kias are coming at the expense of mainland European brands such as Renault and Fiat, rather than Ford and Vauxhall. Not that the quality of their cars protect them against the Germans. VW very nearly overtook Vauxhall last month, while the three German premium brands also saw sales increases. Talking of Renault, the UK importer appears to have followed the example of its French parent and taken the month of August off. Kia is now listed as one of the major car brands and last month it was the biggest winner among them with 69.6% growth