Company Car Today - Issue 56 - 24th July 2019

It’s tough to knowwhat to make of the Government’s (very) long- awaited announcement of the company car tax bands through to April 2023. On the one hand, the clarity is well overdue as the delay has been harmful, and the rate of acceleration in bands has at least slowed. The aim of encouraging take-up of EVs, with rates generous on full electric models, is also worthy. But there are reasons why plug-in vehicles make up only a small percentage of company cars, and these revolve around acquisition or lease cost, infrastructure, suitability for purpose and supply. None of these issues is solved by the tax bands, and what the new bands do is continue to penalise mainstream regular company cars by continuing to ramp up tax. The list of cars in the 30%+ BIK bands is a world away from the top-end high- emitting cars the systemwas originally designed around, and the danger remains that anyone that can’t take a plug-in model, be it for financial, logistical or availability reasons, will want to opt completely out of an ever-increasing tax bill. And probably end up driving something older, much less efficient and less safe. Company cars are a benefit, so should be taxed, but proportionately. And with the WLTP-fuelled rise in emissions next year, many drivers are going to see surprisingly big increases when they take their next company car after 6 April 2020. It would be lovely if everyone could go plug-in hybrid or electric, but the supply simply isn’t there and anyway, such cars aren’t generally the best option for higher-mileage drivers. The Government has, by wilfully or carelessly misreading the impact, failed to come through on pledges that the change to WLTP would be revenue-neutral. What was supposed to be a good thing – changing the emissions test regime to provide more relevant economy figures – has predictably turned into a chance for Government to raid the pockets of regular ordinary company car drivers. FOREWORD COMPANY CAR TODAY.CO.UK 3 The GREEN PAGES 23 WELCOME EDITORIAL: EDITOR: Paul Barker T: 01206 638034 E: CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Tristan Young CONTRIBUTORS: Euan Doig, Daniel Puddicombe NEWS: PRODUCTION: ART DIRECTOR: Caroline Creighton-Metcalf T: 01206 638037 E: PUBLISHING: PUBLISHER: Dave Wallace T: 07739 554329 E: ADVERTISING: T: 01206 638036 CIRCULATIONMANAGER: AndyKirk T: 01825701520 E: SUBSCRIPTIONS: Subscribe to Company Car Today : UK £120.00 (two years £205, three years £270) . Europe and Eire £165 (two years £280, three years £370). Company Car Today @companycartoday DISCLAIMER: CompanyCar Today is published byAutomotiveMedia&Events Limited, registered address 1 SecondAvenue, Halstead, Essex, CO92SU. Registered number 10034249. All rights reserved. No part of themagazinemay be reproduced in any form inwhole or in partwithout prior written permission of the publisher. All material published remains the copyright of AutomotiveMedia&Events Limited.While every reasonable care is taken to ensure accuracy, information is obtained froma variety of sources and the publisher is not responsible for any errors or omissions, nor dowe accept liability for any loss or damage, howsoever caused, resulting fromthe use of themagazine.We reserve the right to edit letters, copy or images submitted to themagazinewithout further consent.The submission ofmaterial toAutomotiveMedia &Events Limited unsolicited or requested, is taken as permission to publish. ISSN 2514-1902 (online) Printing: Micropress Printers Ltd, Suffolk. 12 20 04 43 04 NEWS EVs win with new BIK rates; new Audi Q7; Ford servicing plans 9 FLEET COSTS CONCERN WLTP could cause SMR hike 12 BIG TEST Ford Focus Active Estate rated 20 INTERVIEW Kia fleet boss John Hargreaves on the company’s continued growth 23 GREEN COMPANY CAR We explore all the issues facing fleets that want to go eco-friendly, and explain how to make it work 32 REVIEWS Revised Audi A4 Avant; new Mercedes-Benz A220d; 37 LONG-TERM TESTS Economy surprise from Honda CR-V; Seat Tarraco is put to work 39 KNOWLEDGE The tricky world of used values 43 FLEET OF FANCY Maserati Levante offers both chic style and massive punch CONTENTS Paul Barker Editor Guild of MotoringWriters Editor of the Year 2017 Newspress Automotive Editor of the Year 2018