Honda executives say more support is needed for manufacturers developing such vehicles and have disagreed with Transport Minister Dr Stephen Ladyman over the effect on buyers of grant aid.
At the Fleet News ‘Challenge, Change and the Customer’ conference in London earlier this month, Ladyman claimed he was unsure whether the Powershift grant – which offered £500 to buyers of an environmentally friendly vehicle – had any effect on raising sales or raising awareness. He labelled the grant, which was stopped in April this year, as inconsequential.
Stephen Hollings, Honda’s head of corporate sales, has responded by writing to Ladyman saying: ‘I disagree strongly with these views. I believe that the Powershift grant acts as an important influencing factor for consumers, dealers and indeed manufacturers.
‘The key to the success of the Powershift grant is consistency. Consistency in terms of level and availability of the grant will provide the consumer with a clear understanding of the support available on environmentally friendly vehicles.
‘Changing the grant levels undermines any momentum for these vehicles.’
Hollings called for consistent support of initiatives such as the Powershift grant.
He said: ‘Some motor manufacturers, such as Honda, are investing heavily in products to reduce emissions from vehicles.There has been no Powershift grant since April 1, 2005 and no indication as to when the grant will be re-introduced. We look forward to a more consistent approach in the future.’