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MINI : Much wider than original and more difficult to park

Author: Robin Roberts


Outdated guidelines and poor design in car parks are pushing up the cost of car and van insurance.

Small parking bays, narrow ramps and high kerbs are blamed by 65% of motorists who say using a car park has led to some sort of body damage to their or a neighbouring vehicle and it’s pushing up business car insurance.

Only 1 in 10 of us find parking in our car parks easy – but this problem is exacerbated by the trend for bigger cars. Whilst the typical family car has become more than a foot wider over the past 50 years, the industry standard for the car parking space is 2400mm x 4800mm has not changed.

The research shows that younger drivers are actually more tolerant to the UK’s car parks, with 13% of 18-24 year olds finding them easy to park in compared to under 5% of over 55’s. This may also be due to modern car design restricting visibility and younger drivers being able to more easily turn in their seats and its even worse for business van users.

Whilst this sardine syndrome doesn’t give people a reason to prang and run, it adds to drivers’ frustrations when parking.

These supersized cars include the new Mini, which is 50cm wider than the original; the new Beetle, which is 8.4cm wider than it’s original; and the revised Fiat 500 which is over 30cm wider than its predecessor.

Whereas the average width of new cars sold last year was 6ft 1inch, the size of the minimum car parking space should be 5ft 11 in  – and this is before you take into account the space needed for opening the door, never mind using prams or shopping trolleys. These are guidelines set by Department of Transport and they haven’t been changed since 1994.

“Motorists should be extra vigilant in car parks, taking into account the size of our cars compared to the average size of parking spaces,” says Gareth Kloet, Head of Car Insurance at “This is even more reason to respect other drivers, to confess to any prangs and to exercise a car parking etiquette to help other drivers by not being selfish when parking.”



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