A GROWING awareness among fleet operators of alternative fuels has helped push sales of Vauxhall's liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vehicles to an all-time high.
By the end of July, the company sold more than 2,700 Dualfuel vehicles – beating total sales of 2,400 units for the whole of last year. The company credits this dramatic increase to growing awareness among fleets, rising fuel costs and wider product choices. The introduction of the London congestion charge is also cited as a reason for the boost in sales, as dualfuel vehicles receive a 100% discount. In the month of July, Vauxhall Motors' Dualfuel team sold 435 LPG-powered cars and vans, with about 90% going to companies.
Its best-seller in July was the Vauxhall Astra Dualfuel model, powered by both 1.6i and 1.8i engines capable of running on petrol and LPG, and more than 800 have so far been sold in 2003. Sales of Dualfuel Vectras also rose, followed by the Zafira and Astra Coupe. The best selling dual-powered van was the Combo1.6i.
Further strengthening the Vauxhall product line-up and available for order now are new Corsa Dualfuel models, featuring the new 1.2 16v ECOTEC 78bhp engine with CO2 figures of 138g/km and qualifying for a 14% tax charge.
Phil Hobbs, national Dualfuel sales manager, said: 'This huge growth in Vauxhall's LPG sales reinforces our position of 'first choice' manufacturer for fleets looking to save costs by switching to LPG. 2003 will now be a record year for Vauxhall Dualfuel sales, driven by the strongest fleet demand we have yet seen.'
At this year's Fleet News Awards, Vauxhall received the prestigious AA Tyre-Fit-sponsored Platinum Award, which recognised its commitment to providing clean-fuelled vehicles as well as its century of outstanding service to fleets.
Ford has begun its LPG car offensive with the launch of the Ford Focus LPG, and boosted its gas offering in the commercial vehicle market with an LPG converted Transit Connect.