GREENEST CAR MAKERS: Green-rating the top fleet brands
06 April 2010
The world of emissions reduction is a fast-paced and rapidly changing environment. Paul Barker takes a look at which of fleet's top 20 brands are leading the race in 2010
This is the third time BusinessCar has evaluated the environmental credentials of the top 20 fleet manufacturers, and if the previous two occasions are anything to go by, this review will also draw plenty of comment and controversy.
We've assessed the top 20 biggest-selling fleet brands across 10 categories, rating each category out of five to give a score out of 50, which is doubled to create a percentage figure. Eco website www.cleangreencars.co.uk has provided figures for four of the categories: each manufacturer's average CO2 emissions, in terms of the vehicles they actually register; how that has changed compared to the 2008 figure and the average emissions figures for both of the top two biggest-selling fleet models in their line-up, rated according to how that compares with the average figure for the sector they compete in.
We've also rated each brand according to the number of individual models on their price list below 121g/km (for the lowest BIK and national insurance banding), the number of models below 111g/km, (which has capital allowance write-down implications) and by how low their most CO2-efficient model is. These three categories include every model on sale at the beginning of April, according to BusinessCar's own online tax calculator, provided by Comcar (www.businesscar.co.uk/taxcalculator).
That leaves us with the final three discretionary categories, rewarded by BusinessCar's expert team. The current eco effort category is judged on how much emphasis and drive the manufacturer has put into green issues that are already available to corporate users, the future eco effort category judges and rewards developments that will come to market within two years, and the breadth of green offering is a judgement of the scale of a brand's eco movements. Points are gained for how widespread an offering is in terms of low-CO2 model choice, trim levels and type of technology.
Last year Toyota grabbed the top spot from Volkswagen, with Peugeot, BMW and Fiat rounding out the top five. Read on to see how the game has changed in the past 12 months.
Audi is possibly still behind rival brand BMW?in terms of eco performance across its range, but the progress made last year in reducing emissions meant it scored big points, and the wide range of models below crucial CO2 boundaries work in its favour.
Still one of the pioneering green brands despite a middling result here, BMW was handicapped by a minimal CO2 reduction last year, as well as just the one model below 111g/km and a lack of new developments it's willing to declare at this stage.
A reasonable performance sums up Citroen's current eco position - not at the top of the pile but with enough going on to argue that it's heading quickly in the right direction regarding green performance, particularly as it has a good selection of vehicles below 121g/km.
Fiat's green achievements lie in the fact that it specialises in small cars and sells very few larger models that would pollute its low average CO2 rating. The Eco:drive Fleet driver monitoring and reporting programme could prove popular, or fleets may not embrace it.
Ford has pressed forward again this year, and is now offering a sub-100g/km Focus, joining the Fiesta at that level. Latest development is the long-awaited higher trim levels available with Econetic Mondeo, while a future electric Focus could be interesting.
Honda's mixed result reflects the brand's range. In the Insight and Civic Hybrid it has two cars that, on paper, make perfect fleet sense thanks to low emissions. But the core range contains little that will attract the more eco-conscious of companies or drivers.
A brand on the rise, in both general business car and environmental terms. The lower medium Ceed is a car leading the way, and as new models arrive they should offer some back-up to what is the only compelling CO2 argument in the range at the moment.
In some ways it's almost unfair to include Land Rover against these more fleet-friendly brands, but the figures say it sells enough to be in the corporate top 20, so here it is. No real recognition that emissions are important, but a new model next year may change that.
Mazda is playing the long game, which in emissions terms isn't paying major dividends yet. A?strategy of removing weight and focusing on hydrogen technology should reward the company in the future, but others have made more immediate advances.
Although still trailing BMW and Audi, Mercedes has got to grips with the process of reducing emissions, and the next couple of years should see some serious advancement. However, it's another brand penalised heavily by the number of larger cars it sells.
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