Fleet News

Germans face pressure over emissions taxes

THE German Government is proposing to follow the UK in making company car drivers pay tax based on CO2 emissions. The country's motor industry has criticised the proposal, which is currently under discussion.

At its annual press conference, professor Bernd Gottschalk, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), said that as the country was experiencing an economic downturn, it was the worst time to think about change.

He said: 'How is the recovery supposed to come along, if people are once again thinking out loud about more increases in costs?'

The VDA also revealed that the German motor industry exported a record number of cars last year and exceeded expectations. Figures produced by the VDA showed that a total of 3.67 million cars were exported last year.

Gottschalk added: 'Once again it was exports that were the most stable pillar of our automobile business, helping to promote growth and even increase the number of jobs, despite the stagnating domestic market.'

His report added that the 5.15 million passenger cars manufactured in Germany meant that 2003 was the sixth year in succession that the number has gone above the five million mark.

The VDA also reported that last year's diesel sales in Germany went up by 5%, increasing the fuel's market share to 40%.

Gottschalk said German car production was 'an indication of strength' but added: 'The uncertainty of buyers outweighed all the incentives, and the discussion about higher levies and taxes for motorists is having a paralysing effect.'

However, he added: 'We are entering the still rather new year with optimism, although we are not getting over-excited.'

This year, the VDA expects to see a period of growth in new car sales in Germany for the first time in four years, powered by smaller cars such as the Golf and BMW 1-series.

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