Fleet News

Vauxhall set for diesel sales blip

THE UK’S best-selling fleet manufacturer has taken steps to meet an anticipated extra demand for diesel vehicles as drivers try to beat the deadline when they are no longer exempt from a 3% benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax penalty.

From January, new company car tax rules will be introduced scrapping the exemption of drivers in vehicles that meet Euro-IV emission standard from a 3% BIK penalty.

Last week, Fleet NewsNet revealed how industry opinion among leasing and contract hire companies was divided over what impact the new rules would have on diesel sales later this year.

Bosses at Vauxhall expect a surge in demand for diesels and have taken steps to meet this.

Paul Adler, Vauxhall and Saab fleet brand manager, said: ‘We are anticipating a spike in demand for diesel models in the fleet market in the fourth quarter of this year. It has been a question of trying to balance supply to meet that demand and we have switched supply away from the retail market for specific models such as Euro IV compliant versions of the new Zafira 1.9 CDTi and the Saab 9-3 1.9 TiD in anticipation of this additional fleet demand.’

But rival Ford is not expecting the benefit-in-kind change to have a major effect on demand, which it says is strong anyway. A spokesman said ‘external factors such as high fuel costs and low differential between petrol and diesel prices’ are driving this trend.

Giving its view, a spokesman for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said: ‘We do expect there to be some changes in the months before January as people try to take advantage of tax benefits. However, this may be tempered by the inability of some fleet buyers to be able to bring forward their purchasing schedules during this time.’

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