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GREENEST CAR MAKERS: Eco-rating the top 20 brands

Date: 16 May 2013

Corporate social responsibility and cash considerations in both tax and fuel cost lead back to one thing - green performance. For the sixth year, BusinessCar looks at the top 20 fleet manufacturers to assess their all-round eco performance. Paul Barker reports on the findings.

The environmental performance of a company's vehicle fleet can be crucial to its finances, green credibility and reputation. Increasing numbers of organisations, especially those in the public sector or tendering to it, have to prove they are working to become greener. Meanwhile, a raft of taxation issues including driver benefit-in-kind and company National Insurance are dependent on CO2 performance, and greener cars are intrinsically linked to those providing the best fuel economy.
For 2013 we've made one change to our annual investigation, adding the average CO2 per bhp figure, courtesy of the website, as it shows which manufacturers are achieving better emissions by increasing efficiency rather than simply fitting smaller engines. The same site also provides the local air pollution rating by looking at where the manufacturers compare and rank across NOx, particulates, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, all elements that influence local air quality and cause respiratory problems, especially in urban settings.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has provided BusinessCar with data on the sales-weighted average emissions of cars registered as fleet in 2012 and 2011, allowing us to grade the average emissions of each manufacturer in the fleet sector last year, and how that has dropped, or in one case actually risen, year-on-year. We've also scored the top 20 fleet brands on how far they have exceeded their EU emissions target. Each brand had an individual target to achieve by the end of 2012, based on the mass of their vehicles, and although the EU figures are only available for 2011 at this stage, only one of the top 20 has yet to achieve it, so we've star-ranked according to how far below their target they have managed to reach. These targets tighten again every year until an average of 130g/km is ordered for all brands by 2015, dropping to 95g/km in 2020.
BusinessCar's own CO2 calculator ( provides the information for two categories - those of the number of vehicles on each manufacturer's price list below 120g/km and 95g/km. We've tightened the boundaries to these points from last year because 120g/km is now a feasible point to set a blanket emissions limit for many fleets, given the breadth and quality of vehicles on offer there now, while sub-95g/km is the boundary at which drivers are eligible for the lowest benefit-in-kind taxation band. The same CO2 tool also provided the information on the lowest conventionally powered vehicle in each manufacturer's line-up.
That excludes vehicles that require plugging into the electrical supply, but includes regular petrol or diesel hybrids.
The final two categories are decided by BusinessCar's own expertise and knowledge, grading each manufacturer against each other on the range and quality of their current environmental efforts, and on their future plans, looking at what will be brought to market in the next two years.
These 10 categories create a final score out of 50, which we then double to form a handy percentage guide to how BusinessCar ranks the top 20 manufacturers across a broad range of green influences.
In the minefield of choosing suitable fleet vehicles, we hope this helps inform your choice.