The Business Motoring Week July 13, 2018
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SKODA SUPERB for the business motoring week March 16 2018
Which direction is the Government heading on company car tax? It would be helpful if SME businesses could find out

Government’s car policies becoming anti-business

I DON’T know where to start with this without getting exceedingly agitated. I know the Spring Statement was not designed to introduce new policies. The Chancellor had made that clear last autumn.

But I did expect some clarity from the Government on future company car taxation. Where is it heading post 2020/21?

And what did we get?

Nothing.

David BrennanNexus Vehicle Rental boss David Brennan (left) put it succinctly: “Fleets are still seeking the clarification of Company Car Tax rates for 2021-22 and 2022-23.

“Many running company car fleets will be entering contracts that stretch into these years and urgent clarification is needed to define these rates, which will affect fleet decision making and purchasing.”

There’s more good commentary in Future Company Car Tax visibility absent in Spring Statement in a week that has been dominated by the Spring Statement.

lack of clarity on Plug-in Car GrantAnd what’s happening to the Plug-in Car Grant?

If this wasn’t murky enough in terms of planning, the Plug-in Car Grant finishes at the end of this month. And what have we heard from the Government? Nothing. Again.

Designed to encourage drivers into ultra low emission vehicles, the grant gives you up to £4500 off the price of a vehicle.

Given that recent figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that demand for electric vehicles was declining, amid pressures to clean up air quality, I thought I’d find out what was going on from the Government.

So I called the Department for Transport to find out. They told me that it would be extended in its current format to April. And would last until 2020.

Details to TBA…

Right.

So further lack of clarity, that really amounts to being anti-business. It doesn’t let SMEs plan correctly and with the correct intelligence. There is some interesting commentary in this story Government causes further confusion over lack of clarity on Plug-in Car Grant.

Company car drivers in Scotland face higher company car tax billsScottish company car drivers face increased benefit in kind tax

There are many things in Scotland that residents get free – prescriptions, university education, and so on. But following changes to the taxation structure in Scotland, company car drivers will find themselves paying more in company car tax than their colleagues south of the Border.

And that’s on top of the company car taxes that are coming in April, not to mention drivers of diesel company cars who face an additional 1% surcharge on their diesel cars – up from 3%.

For more on the taxation changes, read Scottish company car drivers hit by higher company car tax.

The way motor finance is sold under the FCA spotlightFCA investigation into motor finance finds…errrmmm, things are alright, actually

So used values have not fallen off a cliff, consumers aren’t being placed into PCP agreements they can’t afford by unscrupulous dealers with only an eye for the commission…

You might recall the horror headlines from last year. If used car values crashed as a result of consumers handing back all the cars that they had on PCPs but couldn’t afford to pay… The funding and car manufacturer meltdown as a result.

But the FCA’s interim report on motor finance suggests that the market is not out of control.

The FCA certainly has concerns, which it is continuing to investigate. But the financial Armageddon promised by some sections of the media appear to be well wide of the mark.

It was a big concern for leasing brokers – many of whom are members of the Leasing Broker Federation – who supply many of the cars and vans you drive on leases. While the report was looking mainly at dealer finance, there was a real concern that the FCA’s investigation would spill over into the leasing broker sector which supplies FCA regulated business and personal contract hire.

Martin Brown Fleet Alliance
Martin Brown: looking for media balance

Martin Brown, Managing Director of award-winning Fleet Alliance, and Leasing Broker of the Year, told me:

“After a great deal of hysteria and ill-informed articles from the mainstream press around PCP, it was re-assuring to read the balanced and reasonable paper produced by the FCA in respect of motor finance. While the main focus of this was PCP and motor dealers (not PCH the mainstay of leasing brokers), I do think that leasing brokers can take some comfort from this too – albeit indirectly.

“Clearly the FCA is looking to extend their research into commissions paid to brokers and dealers. From a leasing broker perspective I would welcome this, and firmly believe that the recent work to “self-regulate” the leasing broker sector with great work being carried out by the BVRLA, funders and brokers alike – will ensure that if researched the leasing broker sector will pass with flying colours.

“I would hope that we will – at last – see some of the mainstream UK press providing balance on this matter, and reassuring consumers that PCP can indeed be a good way for consumers to finance their car.”

You can read more on the FCA’s findings here: FCA updates review of motor industry finance.

New-Mercedes-X-Class-X-350d-4MATICMercedes X-Class gets the X-factor

A Mercedes pick-up. Now there’s a thought. The three-pointed star on a classy truck. It has real appeal. But what if you wanted more.

Like a six cylinder engine with auto transmission. With bundles of torque to push you towards the horizon with just a whiff of the throttle. And four-wheel drive all of the time – just in case.

Well this is it: the Mercedes X 350 d 4MATIC. Find out more about this refined monster of a truck here.

Executive changes at BCA to strengthen management team

Matt Bristow of BCACongratulations to Matt Bristow (pictured left), who was one of our expert independent judges in the SME Company Car of the Year Awards, for his latest appointment at BCA.

He is now Commercial Director – OEM. And joins Greg Taylor who has been appointed Commercial Director – Corporate. For details of these changes, click here.

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