Focus on 11

Ian Mallon gives us 10 real reasons to be cheerful this year

Ian Mallon

FORGET the doom and gloom of 2010, here are 10 reasons to be cheerful in 2011.

1 The Greens are about to become extinct: Those pesky lentil-sucking leeches have done more harm to the motoring industry than a squad of suicide car bombers, but happily they will soon be as extinct as the dinosaurs.

After a raft of stifling taxes on SUVs and so-called carbons the likes of Gormley, Gogarty and Cuffe are set to be dragged from office and forced to spend the rest of their days on a BP oil rig.

2 No More Noel Dempsey: The year ended on a high with the Abominable Minister for Snow announcing his retirement, and slipping into the history books as the worst Transport Minister ever -- and that includes the abysmal Martin Cullen.

Little Noelie needn't worry though, he's left a long and illustrious legacy in his wake, including declining car sales, an unfinished road network and a near non-existant cold weather policy anytime it snows.

3 The all new BMW X3: No release this year inspires more excitement than the X3, which will enjoy its Irish launch today.

We here at Herald Top Gear enjoyed the delights of the all new X3 at its global launch in Atlanta, Georgia last year -- simply stunning.

4 The 2011 Formula One Championship: F1 is cool again and the sport is as hotly contended as it was during the days of Senna and Prost ... bring it on.

5 Increased car sales: Last year saw a 54 per cent rise in car sales to 90,000, so let's hope for more of the same this time around. Even in lean months like December, customers were putting their hard-earned cash on the table fearing that the Budget would see the end of the scrappage scheme.

Thankfully Biffo and Co have extended the deal for a further six months.

Companies offering the best value for money like Renault are reaping the rewards and the French Marque is now in the top 10 Irish sellers for the first time ever with the Megane stealing the No 1 slot.

6 The abolition of state Mercs and car perks: The single biggest problem that Biffo and his power-crazed cronies have in common is their lust for luxury cars.

This is a problem I too suffer from, except unlike our Ministers, I don't use the public purse to pay for my cars.

We here at the Herald have it on good authority that Fine Gael will abolish the state car scheme when they get into power in 2011.

7 The new Range Rover Vogue: Land Rover has given up on Ireland and closed down its Irish HQ. That doesn't stop us looking forward to the newest offerings from the coolest SUV makers in the world, not least the sensational new Range Rover Sport.

Closer to home, next week the all-new Toyota Landcruiser will be launched in Kildare.

8 FORD FOCUS: The wait is over and my trusty sidekick Phil 'Tonto' Hedderman will be the first to drive the mother of all family hatchbacks at the end of the month in Spain.

9 The Germans are here: No it's not the IMF again - in June the BMW 1 M series breaks cover as does the Merc SLK, C-class Coupe and very sexy Opel Zafira in October.

10 LOTTO TIME: If you do have six numbers in the Euromillions then get your order in for the new Aston Martin One-77 -- a snip at €1.5m