Fleet News

X-reg sales slump feared as Government drags its feet over new pricing legislation

THE motor industry is calling on the Government to ensure that legislation designed to cut new car prices is enacted ahead of the September 1 registration plate change.

Consultation on last month's draft orders published by the DTI is due to finish tomorrow, following the Competition Commission's New Cars Inquiry, but the DTI has inserted additional clauses into the orders, particularly governing the way cars are counted against dealer bonuses.

Demands for a speedy end to the 18-month Government 'trial' of the UK motor industry were led by Peter Vardy, chairman and chief executive of dealer group Reg Vardy, who said the new legislation must be enacted as soon as possible to remove continued car buyer uncertainty impacting on both new and used car buying.

He called for the DTI to ensure the new legislation was in place this month, thereby removing market uncertainty ahead of the launch of X-plate vehicles on September 1.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive Christopher Macgowan said he was not certain of the DTI's ability to draft 'these very important orders in a manner to make them transparent and workable and allow enough time to get them implemented'.

'There must be a period of time after the orders are passed to get them implemented because systems such as IT will need to be updated. We all hope everything can be in place by September but because it is complicated there is doubt. If September 1 cannot be met we would regard it as very very grave indeed.'

Vauxhall fleet marketing manager Keith Michaels said: 'If there was to be a delay until October then it could kill off sales for the entire year.'

And Ford fleet operations director Mike Wear said: 'The orders must be published before the summer recess for the sake of the industry and politically.'

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