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Nearly new cars only for economy labels

Dealers are being advised to only use the new used car label scheme on cars that are up to two years old because the environmental information on them could be out of date on older cars.

The colour-coded Used Car Fuel Economy Label includes information on carbon dioxide emissions, estimated fuel cost over 12,000 miles and miles per gallon but these figures are taken from when the car was new.

Cars up to two years old will be covered by the scheme, though dealers can choose to label older stock back to March 1, 2001, if they wish. Private sales are not covered by the scheme.
Chris Brown, stakeholder relations manager for the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), admitted that emissions figures could change on older cars.

Brown told AM: “All the figures will be from when the car was new and it’s correct that emissions and miles per gallon figures will change in older cars. We are advising that dealers only use the labels on cars up to two years old and but if dealers want to use them on cars older than they can choose to do so.”

Dealers can now start labelling their used car stock with fuel economy labels ahead of the consumer launch for the new scheme in November.

The scheme will be funded by the Department for Transport for the first 18 months of the scheme and it has said it will attempt to keep costs to a minimum for dealers. The DfT suggested that the used car labelling could be funded by manufacturers.

Dealer can sign-up and become familiar with the labelling process by visiting http://www.vca.gov.uk/fcb/used-car-labelling.asp.

The used car label is a voluntary initiative developed by the LowCVP with support from the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF), the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and the Government.

Users on www.am-online.com/forum brought up the fact do not agree that the labels will provide accurate information for emissions on all used cars up to eight years old. To join in the discussion click here.

AM is also running a poll on how effect the used car labelling will be. So far, an overwhelming majority of voters believe the used car labelling scheme will not have a positive impact on sales. To take part and add your opinion click here.

The scheme could potentially be unpopular with customers too according to BCA’s used car market report for 2009, which asked 2,000 people across the UK what the crunch factors were when deciding to buy a used car. Environment was at the bottom of the list of influential factors with just 6% of the vote.

Price, make/model and the used car having a low mileage were the top three influential factors.

Dealer view

Chris Roberts, Thurlby Motors managing director, said: “We were asked to try it as a pilot at one of our three Vauxhall sites and it’s been positive so far.

“One of the first things customers ask about when they come into our showroom is what the car is going to cost them in tax.”

Although the scheme is being funded by the DfT for the first 18 months Roberts thinks the cost could made part of manufacturer’s used car schemes like Network Q.

Roberts said that because dealers usually hold more used stock than new, a lot of labels will have to be printed and it could potentially become a big job to keep them all updated.

Strong dealer launch

Brown at LowCVP, said: “We’re aiming for a strong launch in November and hope as many dealers as possible will be on-board with the scheme by then.

“Over the past year car dealers and the VCA have noted increasing requests for information on the environmental performance of used cars. Dealers who display the used car label on their stock will be demonstrating their customer focus and commitment to industry best practice.”

Steve Latham, operations manager for RMIF says, “The RMIF supports the new ‘Used Car CO2 labelling’ programme as it better informs retail customers about used car running costs.
"Therefore the RMIF urges all used car dealers to sign up to this scheme.”

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive of the SMMT, said: "Consumer choice is vital to the reduction of road transport emissions. By extending the successful new car label scheme into the used car market, buyers will be able to accurately compare vehicles and make an informed decision at the point of sale."

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