Auto sector blasts delay to green car subsidy

Critics have accused the Government of “political showboating” over its measures to promote electric and plug-in hybrid cars as part of the 2009 Budget.

Some industry observers say the measures will hinder rather than help increase the take-up and development of greener cars.

As part of the Budget, revealed this week, the Government will provide a car buyer with a subsidy of up to £5,000 towards the purchase of an electric and plug-in hybrid car from 2011.

But Steve Hartridge, managing director of GoinGreen, parent company of electric car marque G-Wiz, says the 2011 start date will put off consumers from buying an electric cars until then.

“It is anticipated that sales of greener vehicles will decline until the start date of the grant. This jeopardises the whole electric vehicle market at a very crucial time,” he says.

Jim Campbell, managing director of automotive consultancy Sutherland Campbell and former Hyundai marketing director, adds that incentivising consumers and car companies is a positive step, but it needs to be put in place immediately, rather than delaying it for up to three years.

The initiative is part of the Government’s £250m scheme to promote the take-up of environmentally friendly cars.

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