Fleet News

Car makers disgraced over online C02 figures

MANY manufacturer websites lack the key information required by company car drivers to make the right choice for next year's changes to company car tax rules. Research by Fleet NewsNet on 22 websites run by 19 manufacturers found alarming gaps in the information available on carbon dioxide emissions.

This data is vital if company car drivers are to avoid a nasty surprise in their tax bills next April. The Vehicle Certification Agency does list CO2 emissions, but updates this infrequently, so many key models are missing. Association of Car Fleet Operators director Stewart Whyte said: 'These findings vindicate the efforts of ACFO and our campaign over the last two years. It is a disgrace that so many manufacturers don't have the information on their websites.

'The VCA website is only updated every six months and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders' website data is incomplete. If manufacturers start losing fleet sales because fleet operators decide they no longer want the hassle and offer cash alternatives, no one should blame the fleet operators.'

Vauxhall's fleet sales director, Maurice Howkins, has promised to amend the Vauxhall website after we revealed the site contained out-of-date information. The site does provide CO2 emissions data for each Vauxhall model, but its advice is based on figures pre-dating the Budget 2000. As a result, the figures refer to the lowest emissions-based company car tax band starting at 135g/km of CO2 - the true threshold is 165g/km from April 2002.

Just 10 of the selected websites had readily-available CO2 emissions data for individual models. Top performers include Peugeot, Citroen and Toyota from the volume manufacturers, while Ford provides a full list of CO2 data on its password-protected Ford Fleet website. Audi and Lexus offer clear information among the premium brands, while BMW's website is among the few to provide a company car tax calculator and CO2 comparison with direct rivals, but no model-by-model rating.

Other manufacturers say CO2 information is likely to appear in future. A Volkswagen spokesman said: 'Our website is being revised and the information might be included in future. Customers can find out CO2 information by requesting a brochure or visiting their local dealer.' And Angus Gray, fleet sales director at MG Rover, said the company's new-look sites are also under development with CO2 ratings due to be included.

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