Diesel hysteria unhealthy for the fleet sector, says Grosvenor Leasing
Growing hysteria regarding diesel cars could have a
negative impact on the fleet sector if the reality isn’t put into perspective.
That’s the concern of Shaun Barritt, CEO of Grosvenor
Leasing, who says ‘dirty diesel’ headlines could have a detrimental effect on
the fleet sector, with talks of scrappage schemes and polluting diesels giving
the impression models “need to be got off the roads” as a matter of urgency.
“Everyone appreciates the green agenda is encouraging
drivers into ultra-low emission vehicles and electric vehicles,” said Mr Barritt,
“and the positive message is that we will soon see a dramatic increase in these
vehicles on our roads, largely because the motor manufacturers are being
targeted by 2021 to achieve 95g/km for the cars that they produce.
“As these targets won’t be achieved with normal internal
combustion engine vehicles, the shift in the next four years will be
considerable, and when diesel drivers swap their cars they will inevitably be
changing to much greener vehicles.
“Add into this the financial incentives to drive a low
emission vehicle, the punitive measures to make it costly if you don’t, and the
fact that the government’s National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) is
investing a further £390 million by 2020/21 to support ultra-low emission
vehicles, renewable fuels, and connected and autonomous vehicles, including £80
million for ultra-low emission vehicle charging infrastructure, the positive
message is that we are now very quickly going greener as a nation!
“Yet reading the headlines, the focus isn’t on portraying
the benefits of everyone driving greener cars. Instead, the language is of doom
and gloom about ‘dirty diesels’, scrappage schemes and the pollution they’re
causing. It wasn’t long ago that we were
being encouraged by the government to drive diesels and the Society of Motor
Manufacturers and Traders has recently reminded us that diesel cars emit, on
average, 20% lower CO2 than petrol equivalents.
“We need a sense of calm, because if the ‘dirty diesel’
phrase gets into people’s minds the likelihood is it will impact cars’ resale
values. This could then lead to the leasing sector suffering losses against
forecasted residual values, and the contract hire companies which are pivotal
to the UK automotive sector will subsequently have less to invest in green
“Falling used car values for diesels also means they will
be bought by drivers who feel they can get a better second hand car for their
budget, but may end up finding them costly to run resulting in less money to
service and maintain them meaning they could be even more polluting than
“I would urge the UK government and the media to push the
positive green message rather than focus on this negative campaign of
ridiculous hysteria for anyone driving a diesel car, as it’s very
counter-productive and could be very damaging to the fleet sector which is
playing a vital role in driving the green agenda.”