Fleet News

Industry bosses issue last-ditch 'hands-off' plea to Chancellor

MOTOR industry chiefs have issued a last-ditch 'hands-off the company car' plea to Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown as he puts the finishing touches to Tuesday's long-awaited Budget. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders at a Geneva Motor Show press conference said it was hard to speculate on what would happen to the UK's 2.1 million annual new car market if the company car, which traditionally accounts for about 75% of new car sales, was taxed out of existence.

'Seeing the company car as a bad thing is the norm, sadly. However, because new vehicles have the latest low emissions technology and even better fuel economy, the company car has proved an effective means of modernising the vehicle parc,' according to SMMT vice-president Ian Gibson, managing director and chief executive of Nissan Motor Manufacturing. 'Driving a new car is more 'green' than driving an old one. I appreciate for the environmental lobby that would be hard medicine to swallow.'

With speculation high that the Chancellor is preparing a Budget attack on the company car but disguising such moves as 'measures to clean-up the environment', Ford of Britain chairman and managing director Ian McAllister said: 'Fleets are 'green' already and I hope the Chancellor does nothing with company car taxation.'

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