Scheme rewards drivers who opt for small vehicles
Jon Henley in Paris
Wednesday June 23, 2004
French drivers who favour large, gas-guzzling cars will have to pay up to €3,500 (£2,300) more for a new model from next January under a radical green road tax scheme unveiled by the environment ministry.
Part of a new environment bill aimed at cutting air, water and soil pollution over the next five years, the scheme will also reward drivers who opt for smaller, cleaner vehicles with payouts of up to €700.
"It's a carrot-and-stick approach that should cost the taxpayer nothing but should make motorists think twice about the kind of car they need, and the kind of car they buy," an environment ministry spokesman said yesterday.
Final details of the scheme, such as whether the tax (or rebate) will be paid at the dealership or at the local vehicle licensing centre, have yet to be worked out. But the spokesman said he thought there was "very little doubt" that the plan would go ahead as planned on January 1.
Under the scheme, all new cars sold in France will be divided into five classes, from the least polluting to the most.
Most mid-sized family cars, such as the Renault Scenic, will fall into middle "neutral" band, category C, and be liable for neither a surcharge or a rebate, the spokesman said.
But smaller runabouts that emit less than 140g per kilometre of carbon monoxide, the main greenhouse effect gas, will benefit from a rebate ranging from €200 to €700, as will diesel cars fitted with filters to remove harmful fine particles from their exhaust.
And at the other end of the scale, drivers who opt for a large luxury saloon with a powerful engine emitting more than 180g of CO2, or for an outsized, diesel-driven four-by-four not fitted with a particle filter, will face a surcharge ranging from €1,500 to €3,500.
According to the ministry, of the two million new cars sold in France each year, roughly one million will fall into category C and not be affected by the measure. The income from the 350,000 big-engined cars sold annually will be used directly to pay the rebates on the 670,000 smaller, more environment-friendly models.
According to a recent study by AFSSE, the French Environmental Health and Safety Agency, some 7% of premature deaths from lung cancer and respiratory or cardiovascular problems in France each year could be directly attributable to the pollution from vehicle exhausts.
"More than 30,000 people die in France each year from atmospheric pollution, and between seven and 20% of all cancers have an environmental origin - the government can no longer remain indifferent," said the prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, presenting a National Health and Environment Plan of which the green road tax is the most radical component.
The plan follows a controversial decision earlier this month by Paris town council to try to ban bulky 4x4s from the streets of the capital. The increasingly popular off-roaders are among the most environmentally harmful vehicles on the market, emitting up to four times as much CO2 as a normal car and only doing about 12 mpg in urban traffic conditions.
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"Off-road vehicles are just not suited to towns and you have to wonder why people drive them," said Denis Baupin, a senior Green party councillor in Paris who tabled the resolution. "They're polluters, they're space-occupiers, they're dangerous for pedestrians and other road users. They're a caricature of a car."
Among examples cited yesterday by the environment ministry of what motorists can expect under the new scheme, the powerful V8 Volkswagen Touareg and Toyota Landcruiser off-roaders would both be liable for the maximum €3,500 surcharge. A larger saloon car with a 2.5-litre engine would get €1,500 slapped on its showroom price, while a small Peugeot 206 diesel fitted with a particle filter would have €700 knocked off.
French car manufacturers gave a mainly positive reception to the plan yesterday, largely because - unlike their German or Japanese competitors - they do not produce many large luxury models or powerful off-roaders, and are therefore unlikely to be greatly affected.
PSA, which manufactures Peugeot and Citroen cars, said it welcomed any move that would encourage consumers to buy cleaner vehicles, but added that it feared the scheme's early announcement might destabilise the market.
"People wanting to buy small, cleaner cars will be inclined to wait so they get the rebate," the company said. "Those who want a 4x4 will rush out and buy it now."
Last month the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, described 4x4 vehicles as "bad for London - completely unnecessary" and their owners as "complete idiots".
A survey by France's Agency for the Environment and Energy Management, Ademe, placed Mercedes' deluxe but bulky G500 off-roader top of a "list of shame" of the most environmentally harmful cars in Europe.
24 Jun 2004
Rock-solid quality is at the heart of the new Toyota RAV4 Granite. This special edition version of Europe’s best-selling SUV comes packed with special features that give the car great visual impact both inside and out.
There is no mistaking the RAV4 Granite on the road, with its larger, 17-inch nine-spoke alloy wheels shod with Pirelli tyres, chrome rear light protectors and stylish chrome sidebars. The model’s special status is denoted by a Granite logo mounted on the tailgate.
Inside the cabin the new features include carpet mats, aluminium scuff plates and a six-disc CD autochanger.
The RAV4 Granite is based on the current 2.0-litre VVT-i XT3 model and its extra features are in addition to a specification that provides ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, driver, front passenger and curtain shield airbags, front and rear electric windows, air conditioning, leather steering wheel and gearshift knob trim, front fog lamps, colour keyed bumpers with wide body styling and roof rails. It is available in Cadmium Green (metallic) which is new and exclusive to the RAV4 Granite along with Argenta Silver (metallic) and Astral Black.
The RAV4 has enjoyed sustained popularity since the original model was launched, helping to pioneer the concept of recreational 4x4s that combine off-road ability with a strong element of sporting, GTI-style character on the road. Now well established as Europe’s best-selling 4x4, it has flourished in the UK, too, annual sales growing by 18 per cent in 2003.
The new RAV4 Granite is offered in both three and five-door versions, powered by Toyota’s 147bhp 2.0-litre VVT-i petrol engine with a five-speed manual transmission, or optional four-speed automatic. All models feature full-time four-wheel drive.
On-the-road prices are £18,495 for the three-door model and £19,995 for the five-door. Automatic transmission costs an extra £1,000 and metallic paint finish, including the exclusive new colour, Cadmium Green, is available as a £350 option.
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 15 June 2004 – From the jungles of Southeast Asia to the high plains of South America; the 2005 Land Rover G4 Challenge promises to be even tougher and more spectacular than the inaugural 2003 event.
This time the action starts amongst the intensity of Bangkok city, and ends at high altitude on the plains of Bolivia. In between lie thousands of miles of vehicle-based adventure, strategy and sweat, with a new Range Rover as the ultimate prize.
All Land Rover models will be used during the 2005 Challenge, including the all-new Discovery 3, as well as a fifth vehicle that is yet to be announced. These near-standard vehicles will form the base of operations for the competitors as they bike, climb, kayak and 4x4 drive their way towards victory. Painted in a custom orange body colour, the vehicles will not only carry an array of equipment that will aid the competitors in their global quest for victory, but will also form an integral part of the competition, with daily 4x4 driving challenges.
"The first Land Rover G4 Challenge proved itself as one of the toughest, most spectacular adventure challenges in the world,” says Matthew Taylor, managing director, Land Rover. “Its authenticity and global reach allowed us to prove that Land Rover is synonymous with adventure. And in 2005 we will be doing it again."
Working in bi-national teams, men and women representing 18 nations will pit stamina and skill in an arena stretching across four countries on two continents, over a four-week period in October 2005. From June 21st 2004, would-be competitors can apply online at www.landroverG4challenge.com, or complete an entry form at their local Land Rover dealership.
With many thousands of entries expected, each nation will hold a 'national selections' event, in order to identify its top three competitors. These competitors then go through to 'international selections', which will be held at Eastnor Castle in the UK. Ultimately only one competitor will be chosen to represent his or her nation in the 2005 Land Rover G4 Challenge.
During the 2003 Challenge, former fighter pilot Rudi Thoelen made history by becoming the first winner of the Land Rover G4 Challenge. The Belgian’s resolve, driving ability, stamina and mental agility were the key elements that put him ahead of the pack.
“I had nothing left at the end,” says Thoelen of his victory. “The Challenge pushed me further than I had ever been pushed before. It is a tough test of both body and mind. And I can still hardly believe that I won it!”
A new five-year service and maintenance 'VIP' package, is to be standardised across Land Rover's Range Rover range of vehicles.
Included on all new Range Rovers purchased from Land Rover dealers, the package represents £3000 worth of servicing and replacement parts, and will cover Range Rover owners for five years or 75,000 miles of driving.
Land Rover UK managing director, Phil Popham, said: "This is an unbeatable value servicing programme, which underlines our confidence in this excellent vehicle. The initiative will benefit customers with a class-leading new Range Rover maintenance package, combined with residual values that reflect the premium attention paid to the vehicle during ownership."
The VIP package will be transferable with the vehicle at re-sale, together with the three-year unlimited mileage warranty, six-year anti-perforation guarantee and comprehensive three-year roadside assistance coverage in both the UK and mainland Europe, already included with the purchase of a Range Rover.
The package is available now from Land Rover's dedicated UK dealer network.
Suzuki GB has announced plans for the development of a new 15,400 sq m national parts, training and technical centre at Milton Keynes. The facility will
also be the UK base for the storage and distribution of motorcycles and marine products.
It is to be built on a ‘green field’ site recently purchased by Suzuki and will open
in the latter part of 2005. More than £12 million will be invested in the project.
The administrative headquarters of Suzuki in the UK, which includes the Automobile, Motorcycle and Marine Sales and Marketing Departments, General Management, Finance and IT, will remain in Crawley, West Sussex, where the company has been based for the past 22 years, and will be located at the Company’s Gatwick Road building until 2007 when the current 25 year lease expires. After that date these departments will move to new premises in the area.
Suzuki GB appreciates that in the medium term the move will be of concern to the staff in the departments that will relocate to Milton Keynes and it will, therefore, be consulting with all those who will be affected to discuss all of the options that will be offered them.
Mr Hideki Awano, Managing Director of Suzuki GB PLC says that the developments announced today [Wednesday, 31 March, 2004] are a vital part of the strategy for further sustained growth for Suzuki in the UK.
"Suzuki has grown steadily and achieved great success in the United Kingdom’s Automobile, Motorcycle and Marine markets and – after detailed consideration of the Company’s plans for further growth – we have concluded that the relocation of these key Divisions is essential. The choice of Milton Keynes, close to excellent transport links and with established industry ties, will enable us to continue to provide first class support services for the future," Mr Awano said.
Initial order of 70 vehicles received
Three year deal worth up to 600 vehicles
Mitsubishi Motors UK is pleased to announce that the Environment Agency has confirmed Mitsubishi as its chosen supplier of 4x4 utility and off road vehicles in its ‘light’ and ‘medium’ categories.
The Government body responsible for the environmental monitoring of land, water and air in England and Wales, has already taken delivery of a specially converted fleet of 71 Mitsubishi vehicles comprising of 31 L200 Pick-ups 14 Shogun Pinin 4Work Commercials and 26 Shogun 4Work Commercials.
Having agreed a deal which will span at least three years, it is expected that between 500 - 600 vehicles will be purchased from Mitsubishi between now and 2007.
The fleet of Mitsubishis will be used for a variety of purposes, many of which will take them off road, for activities such as the patrolling of river banks, lakes and beaches, monitoring water quality and flood defences.
Having researched the market for over a year and carried out extensive tests, the Environment Agency concluded that Mitsubishi came out on top against the competition.
Along with the ability to tackle the toughest terrains, the selection process included strict criteria. The most important being the level of impact the vehicles would have on the environment. Therefore both fuel economy and exhaust emissions were measured and compared. Safety was another important feature considered and with ABS and airbags fitted across the required range, Mitsubishi scored highly.
Mitsubishi offers the widest range of 4x4 commercial vehicles in the market place. This combined with Mitsubishi’s special vehicle operation, ensured that all of the Environment Agency’s bespoke requirements could be catered for. Varied range of vehicles that ideally suits the Agency’s needs. For example, the L200 is an accomplished off-roader, which is available in Single, Club and Double-Cab versions.
"We spent a great deal of time testing vehicles to ensure we made the right decision when replacing our existing 4x4 fleet", said Tony Sale, National Contracts and Process Manager for the Environment Agency’s Fleet Operations. "We were very impressed with the range Mitsubishi can offer and I’m sure the vehicles will meet our changing needs."
In addition to the attributes the vehicles have to offer, Mr. Sale was impressed with other aspects of the Environment Agency’s association with Mitsubishi: "We feel confident with our decision to become involved with Mitsubishi as its dealer network is geographically well positioned. As we are a country-wide organisation this is a very significant feature as it will make servicing and maintenance more efficient."
Mr Sale continued: "Mitsubishi are as serious as us about environmental issues, such as researching the benefits of converting vehicles to run on LPG. I therefore hope that our two organisations can look forward to a long term relationship.
Gaydon, Warwickshire 7 June 2004
A new Freelander derivative, the 1.8 XEi Special Edition, is out now at Land Rover dealerships throughout the UK, available from £16,995 for the 3 door, and £18,995 for the 5 door.
The XEi includes eye-catching 17" Freedom alloy wheels and front fog lights as well as a CD player and air conditioning as standard, and for a limited period, metallic paint. This comes in addition to the Freelander's pioneering Hill Descent Control and Electronic Traction Control off-road technologies.
The Freelander's full-time 4x4 system also translates into on-road driving benefits, particularly where conditions turn treacherous - in snow, heavy rain, or when hitting slippery patches on tarmac.
Commenting on the Special Edition, Land Rover UK managing director Phil Popham, stated: "Land Rover's best-seller is now an even more attractive buy with the introduction of the XEi. With its off-road prowess and pioneering technology the Freelander has never been so well equipped at such an attractive price."
The partnership between Amex and Land Rover at this year’s The Sunday Times Motor Show Live is proving a great success.
Existing card members and visitors who sign up on the day gain exclusive access to additional features at the show. The Global Experience takes customers through an inside course where they travel across four different zones, City scape, desert, artic and jungle, and encounter the different terrain you might experience across the globe.
Visitors to the Amex stand can see Land Rover’s first concept vehicle the Range Stormer or the more competitive can take part in daily heats to win an X Box console, games and Amex goodies by playing new driving game Rally Sport 2