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BMW boss slams local authority car 'tax spree'

Date: 14 November 2007   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

The Government must "stamp on a random local authority tax spree and anarchy" to restore order and introduce some respect for credible automotive CO2 tax planning, according to BMW UK's managing director Jim O'Donnell.

O'Donnell also called on London's Mayor, Ken Livingstone, to make up his mind about whether the proposed daily entry fee to the capital for cars over 225g/km was a congestion charge or a green tax.

The head of BMW in the UK pointed out that Transport for London's own research showed annual pollution reduction from the new charges would equate to the equivalent of just three hours of Heathrow aircraft emissions, or 8100 tonnes of carbon.

Citing "the People's Republic of Richmond's" ludicrous £500 levy for parking two Band G cars and Nottingham's £350 parking tax, O'Donnell said: "The Government must stamp on this regional tax spree by out-of-control councils and restore respect for CO2 tax planning, lead from the front and put petty local politicians back in their boxes. They must get a grip on tax anarchy."

While praising Prime Minister Gordon Brown for providing incentives to drive greener cars, O'Donnell argued that punitive taxing of larger cars out of existence threatened the survival of Jaguar and Land Rover.

He added that, by enforcing the demise of larger cars, the Government threatened to slow down the development of safety and efficiency technology, which percolates down from top-end models to mainstream products and a wider audience.

Praising BMW's Efficient Dynamics features he said that, since September, 95% of BMW's UK model portfolio has been below the 225g/km level and sub-140g/km rated cars will account for 42% of the brand's sales next year.

O'Donnell revealed that BMW's product programme will include a new X6 crossover and the 4x4 X1, while a four-door saloon/coupe will be based on the CS concept car. He also said that work has started on the "Progressive Activity Sedan".