GREENEST CAR MAKERS: Eco-rating the top fleet brands (continued)
07 April 2009
Fleet's biggest sellers have put in a lot of effort to reduce emissions in the past 12 months, but some have had more success than others, as Paul Barker reports
Mini is a desirable proposition for fleet drivers who don't need a larger vehicle. Great RVs are one reason, but low emissions also help. Shame there's no hint of significant further development to break the 100g/km barrier.
Nissan was heading toward 4x4s and hatchback/off-road crossovers when the eco hurricane hit and therefore has a line-up not suited to green priorities. It has not been able to react quickly enough to satisfy fleets driven by environmental issues.
Peugeot's high placing is aided by its broad range of smaller models, although an auto 308 is offered at sub-121g/km. Outside of smaller-engined models, though, there's not yet much to illustrate a green agenda.
Low-CO2 versions of the new Laguna and Megane impress, as does working on reducing factory CO2 and increasing Renault cars' recycleability. Getting models below 111g/km would help, and a future focus on electric power will hopefully pay dividends.
Lowest CO2 model: Ibiza 1.4 TDI Ecomotive (98g/km)
What Seat offers is impressive, particularly the Ibiza at 98g/km, and a sub-100g/km Leon would be impressive if it arrives next year as planned. The only worry is that, away from the very efficient eco models, there needs to be more on offer.
The Fabia Estate is a big car for a sub-111g/km option, as is the sub-140g/km Superb, but Skoda is another brand with a narrow range of green choices. New diesel engine could be very helpful at lowering emissions, bringing Octavia in at 116g/km.
Toyota's green achievements are coming on leaps and bounds, and the brand is deserving of its top spot for business car eco offerings. There's no let-up, either, with this year bringing the launch of the new 89g/km Prius.
Gathering pace after a slow start. A wide range of Astras in the 13% BIK band is a boon, but there's nothing class-leading at present. There are high hopes for the Ampera plug-in hybrid in a couple of years' time, though.
VW was unfortunate with the timing of this report, as the sub-121g/km version of the new mk6 Golf isn't yet on sale. If it had been, it would have been a close run thing between VW and Toyota, although the two clearly lead the industry at this time.
Volvo's results could be the ones that change most sharply in the next 12 months. Initially missing the eco-boat, the Swedish car manufacturer has played catch-up well and is launching a raft of new models. Watch this space.
It's the same two at the top again this year, and if anything the gap is increasing.
Toyota leads the way, enhancing its position thanks to Optimal Drive technology that complements the existing Prius hybrid, while VW's Bluemotion is now across virtually the whole range. The Polo Bluemotion is already sub-100g/km, and the number of exciting developments means VW will be fighting for the top spot again next year.
Fiat, BMW and Peugeot all move up the table, with BMW's rise particularly impressive as, unlike the other two, it has a higher percentage of larger cars.
The mid-table shuffles around as some brands, like Audi and Volvo, now have lower-CO2 models they didn't have a year ago, while others such as Vauxhall, Seat and Skoda can be expected to rise next year when new product comes along.
With Saab dropping out of the top 20 fleet sellers, unsurprisingly, it's Land Rover that props up the table. The brand is unique in the top 20 in not having a single model at under 121g/km. Indeed, even 160g/km is a stretch too far for at least the next couple of years.
Just above it, Nissan has been bringing through increasingly attractive and appealing new models, but unfortunately low-CO2 offerings haven't been among them and won't be in the near future. Mercedes has climbed a place to move out of the bottom two, and the new E-class, with it's excellent CO2 figures, should help in the future.
Thanks to Clean Green Cars (www.cleangreencars.co.uk) for providing us data on average CO2 emissions.