New emissions rules will change how options are sold

Forthcoming new emissions tests could spell the end of individual options

Under new a testing regime, new cars will have their emissions calculated depending on the options fitted – a plan that will eventually affect how tax is calculated.

From next month, the car industry will work towards a new testing structure called World harmonised Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which replaces the current New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test.

Under WLTP, the individual options fitted to a car will factor into the test. Each and every option will be given a CO2 figure, largely influenced by its weight, aerodynamic penalty or the amount of power it draws from the engine. This will impact heavy items such as panoramic sunroofs and larger alloy wheel sizes in particular.

While it doesn’t spell the end of individual options as such, a model could have hundreds – or thousands – of different CO2 figures depending on the number, type and combinations of options chosen.

However, buyers needn’t be concerned about an increase in road tax or company-car tax immediately. HM Treasury has said this will be used to calculate tax in the future, but hasn’t given a date.

Peter Mock, managing director at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) said: “Makers will have to generate a CO2 emissions value and weight figure for each vehicle they offer to the customer – for each variant. In order to reduce complexity, they’ll bundle packages and offer consumers only limited choice.”

SEAT is one carmaker that offers lots of options and told Carbuyer it would sell options “slightly differently” in the future, starting with the new SEAT Arona SUV. One potential route could be selling more option packs, or ensuring new models are sold ‘fully loaded’ with kit – reducing reliance on the options list.

Greg Archer, clean vehicles director at campaign group Transport & Environment, added that once WLTP is used for taxation purposes “you could end up in a situation where you can have a particular sunroof or heated seat, but that pushes it up in terms of CO2 and you finish up in a higher tax band”.

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
MG HS
Deals
12 Aug 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

Nissan Ariya vs Volvo XC40 vs Volkswagen ID.4 - which is best?
Hero image
News
11 Aug 2022

Nissan Ariya vs Volvo XC40 vs Volkswagen ID.4 - which is best?

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N spotted testing
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N
News
11 Aug 2022

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 N spotted testing

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
20 Jun 2022

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
12 Jul 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
12 Jul 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
24 Jun 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022