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Cars 'outgrowing' parking spaces


At 6ft 7ins wide, the Ford Focus is a big unit

Fictional motor dealer Arthur Daley was known as a wide boy - but even he would surely be shocked to learn that cars themselves are on average two inches wider than when George Cole filmed his last episode of Minder in 1994.

While parking spaces are no larger than they were 20 years ago, cars are 16% bigger, according to research by Halfords and paintwork specialist G3 Pro.

This means that the average car is now two inches wider than the 5ft 11ins minimum recommended by the Department for Transport.

So drivers on the brink of taking out a car loan will want to bear in mind that even a standard model - such as the Ford Focus at 6ft 7ins - will struggle to get into the average parking space without having its wing mirrors pulled in.

Getting out of the car without scuffing the door is proving too much for many motorists - and repair costs are escalating.

Half of all car park mishaps involve vehicle doors, ahead of bumpers (14%) and wings (13%).

An estimated 10 million motorists a year are having to repair their paintwork, according to Halfords and G3 Pro.

Britain's drivers are paying out £500 million a year to smooth out the scratches with the average repair costing around £50.

Supermarket car parks are the worst, according to a 38% of drivers who participated in the survey.

Shopping Centres have accounted for 29% of nicks and station car parks a further 18%.

Most respondents blamed their scratches and repair costs on inconsiderate drivers parking too close to them, said a Halfords spokesman.

However, the study found the actual size of parking spaces is a major factor.

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