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Carmakers ‘no longer agnostic’ about car buyers’ drivetrain choices

UK EV charge symbol

Ford of Britain and the PSA Group have conceded that the time has come to influence car buying customers drivetrain choices in a bid to steer them into a new crop of low-emission electrified cars.

Speaking to AM at the recent launch of the new Ford Puma crossover – launched in 48-volt mild hybrid form only in the UK – Ford of Britain’s UK passenger vehicle director, Lisa Brankin, conceded “We used to be completely agnostic when people bought a car from us. That isn’t the case now.”

Peugeot UK managing director David Peel, meanwhile, recently revealed that franchised retailers with PSA Group brands have had their volume bonus linked to the CO2 emissions of the vehicles they sell.

The move comes as OEMs battle to mitigate the impact of 2020/21’s EU CO2 emissions regulations which stipulate a 95g/km average fleet output and a fine of €95 per gram, per vehicle sold above that level in the event of a breach.

Each PSA Group franchised site has been set a personal goal calculated on sales history, Peel revealed.

Brankin told AM that Ford’s retailers would be undergoing extensive training to prepare for the arrival of new electric vehicle (EV) product this year.

The mild hybrid Puma is just the first in a string of launches in 2020, including the new Kuga hybrid and plug-in hybrid models and the much-anticipated Mustang Mach-E – the brand’s first pure electric car.

Brankin told AM: “Puma has been tied into the electrification story of Ford alongside the Transit Plug-in and dealers first saw the car in Amsterdam back in April last year, so we’ve been trailing the Puma story for quite a while.

“Again, in November, retailers met with us, this time in Telford, to discuss what electrification meant for them. The world is changing this year. By this time next year we’ll have a full range of EVs.”

She added: “Until now we have only had the Mondeo plug-in, which represented very small volumes. This year will see a sea-change in ourt approach to alternative fuel vehicles (AFV).

“Mild hybrid is, in many ways, straightforward but the hybrid works in a different way and that is the beginning of Ford retailers really needing to understand something fmore than they have been used to from a drivetrain perspective.

“The norm in our range will very quickly become mild hybrid, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and BEV and that represents a big step for our customers.”

Earlier this week it emerged that the UK Government is poised to ban the sale of all hybrid, petrol and diesel cars from 2035 after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the move at the launch of the COP26 United Nations climate summit.

Cazana and the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) have been among those to highlight some of the challenges to making the transition to a 100% EV new car market.

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