Uproar over new C-Charge plans for
London

Industry groups have expressed their disappointment with the new
Greater London congestion charging scheme although several
manufacturers have been quick to tout their models that fall within
the charge-free band.

 The new scheme, effective October 27 2008, will slap a
daily levy of up to £25 on vehicles that emit more than 120g of CO2
per km. Cars that emit 120g/km of CO2 or less – known as band A and
B cars – will be exempted from any charge, although mayor of London
Ken Livingstone has referred to this as a 100 per cent discount
which suggests that it could be transient in nature.

 The Society
of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
said the new schedule
of charges will neither cut CO2 emissions nor lower the volume of
traffic in central London. Instead it would tax large families who
tend to travel in cars that fall within the highest CO2-emitting
band, the SMMT said.

 “This is totally disproportionate and does not present a
consistent signal to consumers,” said SMMT chief executive Paul
Everitt. “The mayor has made it clear that charges will be varied
in future and has not clarified the period in which discounts will
apply.

“We can be confident that this means higher charges and the
gradual erosion of discounts for band A and B cars,” he added.

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By GlobalData

The Retail
Motor Industry Federation
was likewise critical of the scheme.
“Most private cars driven in central London fall outside the new
emissions-based congestion charge level , so it is questionable if
the plan will achieve its aim of further reducing central London
traffic levels and overall emissions,” said chairman Alec
Murray.

Motor manufacturers nonetheless saw an opportunity to publicise
their models that will be either exempt from charges or liable to
the lower-band £8 daily levy.

Lexus
for example drummed up its hybrid models which fall a band below
the highest CO2-emitting band of 226g/km. Similarly, BMW and MINI
said almost all their models would not break the 226g/km
threshold.