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The Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) has sent a warning shot to Government, calling for consistency in messages to fleets and consumers.

The warning comes after SMMT statistics revealed CO2 tailpipe emissions rose for the first time in two decades – by 0.8% to 121.0g/km in 2017.

The SMMT blamed the anti-diesel agenda and a slow take-up of electric vehicles for the increase, adding this could mean the industry may miss the next round of CO2 emission improvement targets, while also impacting the UK’s climate change goals.

According to the SMMT, cars sold in 2017 emitted, on average, 12.6% less CO2 than the vehicles they replaced, while CO2 emissions have fallen by a third since 2001.


In 2017, diesel registrations dropped by 17% with industry experts blaming confusion over future Government policies meaning buyers held off on upgrading their vehicles for cleaner models.

The SMMT also attacked the Government’s decision to scale-back and reduce incentives to switch to hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, claiming this “undermined” the industry’s ambitions for the technology.

“The industry shares Government’s vision of a low carbon future and is investing to get us there – but we can’t do it overnight; nor can we do it alone. The anti-diesel agenda has set back progress on climate change, while electric vehicle demand remains disappointingly low amid consumer concerns around charging infrastructure availability and affordability,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT. “To accelerate fleet renewal, motorists must have the confidence to invest in the cleanest cars for their needs – however they are powered. A consistent approach to incentives and tax, and greater investment in charging infrastructure will be critical. Now, more than ever, we need a strategy that allows manufacturers time to invest, innovate and sell competitively, and which gives consumers every incentive to adapt.”