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Petrol and diesel car ban in 2032 ‘too soon’, say 66% of UK dealers

UK's favourite PHEV: The Mitsubishi Outlander SUV

Two-thirds of UK car dealers believe that the Government’s proposal to ban on petrol and diesel powered non-alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) by 2032 is too early.

Close Brother Motors Finance conducted a survey to gauge retailers’ attitudes towards the prospect of a ban – proposed by The House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee back in October – and found that 66% of dealers felt 2032 was too soon.

A total of 59% of the survey’s 200 respondents said that such action would have a negative impact on their business, despite the fact that 36% expect consumers to have already embraced alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) by the proposed deadline.

Sean Kemple, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: “Britain’s dealers are already coping with a range of issues – from Brexit, confusion over fuel types, not to mention a global slowdown.

“There’s no doubt that developments in technology mean that we are already on the verge of cars with an acceptable range for most drivers. This will only improve in the years to come.

“So, in theory at least, the cars themselves will be ready for the Government’s proposed date.

“What is less certain is the infrastructure available to support, customer confusion, and cost to entry.”

AM reported in October how the cross-party group of MPs had demanded that Government imposes an outright ban on the sale of all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032 in a bid "fast track" adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

BEIS branded the Government’s current emissions-cutting plan as “ambiguous”, criticising it for failing to enforce a ban on hybrids in 22 years’ time and stating that “zero should mean zero”.

Speaking at the time, Rachel Reeves MP, chairman of the Committee, said: “For all the rhetoric of the UK becoming a world leader in EVs, the reality is that the Government’s deeds do not match the ambitions of their words.

“The UK Government’s targets on zero-emissions vehicles are unambitious and vague, giving little clarity or incentive to industry or the consumer to invest in electric cars.

“If we are serious about being EV world leaders, the Government must come forward with a target of new sales of cars and vans to be zero emission by 2032.”

Close Brothers Motor Finance’s dealer satisfaction survey found that 39% of dealers currently have “no plans” to stock AFVs any time soon, instead solely relying on petrol and diesel cars.

By contrast however, the results showed that a significant group was embracing the shift.

Over a third of dealers (36%) said the ban would not make much of a difference as more consumers were turning to AFVs as it was.

Alongside this, a quarter (24%) said they were already stocking AFVs in their showrooms, while and additional 37% were considering stocking AFVs in the near future.

Fuelled by demand, 20% of dealers said their customers had expressed an interest in purchasing an AFV.

Kemple added: “The research shows that out of this confusion, many dealers are seizing the opportunities where they see them.

“A quarter have already predicted the change of wind towards alternative fuel vehicles, with another third weighing up the options.

“It is up to Government to listen to and work with the industry to ensure that no one is left behind.”

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