Sales of 4x4s dip for first time

Last edited 15 August 2006 at 8:00am
15 August, 2006

As new figures showed sales of 4x4 vehicles dipping for the first time, Greenpeace urged Tony Blair to enact proposals to tax polluting vehicles more heavily. A total of 105,196 new SUVs were sold in the first seven months of 2006 compared with 106,732 in January-July 2005.

Ken Livingstone recently proposed charging 4x4 owners £25 a day for the London congestion charge, while the Commons' Environmental Audit Committee this month suggested £1800 road tax for gas guzzlers. The possibility of these charges appears to have slowed the trend for polluting vehicles, but Greenpeace is worried that the fashion for gas guzzlers will again take root if the proposals are not enacted.

Emily Armistead of Greenpeace said: "The most polluting vehicles, like many makes of 4x4, are spewing huge quantities of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere causing climate change. It's encouraging that sales of 4x4s have slowed for the first time, it shows Britain may at last be turning its back on climate-wrecking cars as scientists warn that global warming poses a huge threat to the planet. But tens of thousands of urban 4x4s are still sold every year in Britain. Tony Blair should enact proposals from backbench MPs to tax these polluting vehicles more heavily so they are driven off our roads completely."

Greenpeace's gas guzzler campaign saw fake wheel-clamps put on polluting 4x4s. Last year thirty Greenpeace volunteers shut down the Range Rover assembly line in Solihull. Last month Greenpeace released a controversial film advertisement designed to satirise manufacturers' ads that paint 4x4s as aspirational vehicles.

Ken Hurst, editorial director of The Manufacturer Magazine, told PA: "It may be that 4x4s are going out of fashion. Possibly children who once saw the vehicles as status symbols now feel ashamed when they are dropped off at the school gates."

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