The move into a new year has put the chaos of 2018 behind us, but what will 2019 have in store? We look at 19 key dates that will shape the next 12 months.
1 JANUARY – GLASGOW ULEZ
The first date has already happened, with Glasgow’s Ultra-Low Emissions Zone coming into effect from the beginning of 2019. Initially targeting local buses, it’s set to be extended in 2022 to include cars and commercial vehicles.
31 JANUARY – SOUTHAMPTON EMISSIONS ZONE PROPOSALS
Southampton has been slow to put forward final proposals on how it will tackle its air quality issues, having failed to supply plans by the 15 September deadline originally imposed by Government. The south coast city’s cabinet was scheduled to consider the Proposed Business Case document at a special cabinet meeting on 22 January, ahead of a final submission to Government by 31 January.
17 FEBRUARY – GOVERNMENT WLTP CONSULTATION
Just before Christmas, the Government launched a consultation into the impact of the new WLTP emissions testing regime on company car drivers and the tax they will be paying from next year (see p7). Although wholesale changes look unlikely from the consultation’s wording, Westminster is seeking feedback from fleets and interested parties, specifically on the difference between similar cars with pre- and post-WLTP emissions figures. More can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications.
1 MARCH – PLATE CHANGE DAY
The first numberplate change of the year will bring in the ‘19’ number on plates, replacing the current ‘68’ on new cars.
7-17 MARCH – GENEVA MOTOR SHOW
The first of two major European shows this year is claiming to be hosting at least 150 European premieres, so will as always be the place that a number of key company cars are unveiled.
7 MARCH – BVRLA DINNER
The rental and leasing industry’s big black tie bash, BVRLA members and guests will get together at the London Hilton on Park Lane in early March.
9 MARCH – NEW BMW 3-SERIES ON SALE
The compact executive car young execs aspire to, the BMW 3-Series gets an all-new model arriving on UK roads at the beginning of March. Longer and wider than before to increase cabin space, the new car comes packed with tech and will spawn a new plug-in hybrid 330e version late this year.
29 MARCH- BREXIT (MAYBE!)
It’s not been mentioned much (!), but the UK has decided to leave the European Union. What that’s going to mean in business, travel and economic terms is still rather uncertain, but will hopefully be clearer before the end of March.
APRIL – FIRST RDE2-COMPLIANT CAR
Mercedes-Benz will set the standard in efficient company cars from April when deliveries of its A200d and A220d models commence. It’ll be the first car that avoids the four-band BIK penalty for company car drivers, as the new engine meets the stringent RDE2 emissions standard.
6 APRIL – NEW TAX YEAR
The 2019/20 tax year brings the regular company car benefit-in-kind tax increases, with everything going up by three bands, and all cars of 165g/km or above (and all non-RDE2-compliant diesels over 144g/km) now snared in the top 37% band. VED will also rise.
8 APRIL – LONDON ULEZ LAUNCHES
Initially operating in the same area as the congestion charge zone, the London Ultra-Low Emissions Zone is set to expand out to the north and south circular borders in October 2021. Active 24 hours a day, the ULEZ will require drivers of diesels not meeting Euro6 emissions standards, or Euro4 petrol vehicles, to pay an additional £12.50 per day on top of the £11.50 congestion charge.
30 APRIL-2 MAY – COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SHOW
The CV Show will again be hosted by the NEC in Birmingham as the annual extravaganza of all things commercial vehicles. Manufacturers, suppliers, service companies and anyone else with an interest in vans
and trucks, come together for the three-day event.
16-19 MAY – LONDON MOTOR & TECH SHOW
Being held at Excel in east London, the London Motor and Tech Show may be a shadow of former British motor shows, but it’s still a useful chance to check out a variety of cars under one roof that isn’t really available anywhere else these days. Tickets are a not cheap at £20 per adult, but under-17s get in for free.
AUGUST – NEW VAUXHALL CORSA LAUNCHED
The new Corsa is undeniably a big deal for Vauxhall. This new version will be available from late summer, and an all-electric powertrain will be a core part of the new model’s offering.
1 SEPTEMBER – WLTP FOR LCVs
Part two of the WLTP soap opera will take place this year, hopefully more serenely than the car industry managed. All light commercial vehicles need to be emissions tested under the WLTP system by 1 September. Industry experts predict significantly less chaos than the supply issues caused in the car world, but it’s well worth being aware for any light commercial vehicle changeovers planned for late summer 2019.
1 SEPTEMBER – AUTUMN PLATE CHANGE
The second new number plate of the year will see ‘69’ plates come into effect for new cars rather than the ‘19’ of the preceding six months.
12-22 SEPTEMBER – FRANKFURT MOTOR SHOW
Not only is Frankfurt the second big international motor show to happen in Europe in 2019, but also it’s the largest, and the German brands usually hold back something big to reveal at their home event.
NOVEMBER – BUDGET 2019
Depending on where the country has got to by the end of the year, who is chancellor and who is even in Government, the 2019 Budget statement could head in a variety of directions in terms of things that will help or hinder businesses’ future mobility planning.
31 DECEMBER – BIRMINGHAM CLEAN AIR ZONE
Kicking in as of 1 January 2020, the Birmingham clean air zone is likely to be one of the country’s more controversial, because private cars, taxis and light commercial vehicles will be charged £8 per day, and HGVs, buses and coaches £50, if they don’t meet diesel Euro6 and petrol Euro4 emissions standards. The zone covers all roads within the A5450 Middleway ring road apart from the Middleway itself, and will operate 24 hours per day.