SMMT has today criticised the London Assembly Liberal Democrats for producing a list of vehicles which it says should incur double the London congestion charge for drivers. The list of 4x4s / SUVs, including 16 not currently sold in the UK*, is based on a well-trodden path of anti-SUV stereotypes, misinformation and out-of-date American safety research.
SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan commented, ”The London Assembly Liberal Democrats suggest that a "one size fits all" approach to the London congestion charge is flawed. Why then have they chosen to apply the same approach – the one size fits all 4×4 label – to produce a list of cars which they claim should pay double to drive in central London? It makes no sense at all.”
SUVs – are a danger to pedestrians?
The British-built Honda CR-V is one of only a handful of cars to have gained three stars in independent NCAP crash tests for pedestrian protection. This is a better performance than 19 out of 21 supermini models tested by the safety body since 2002. So, why is the CR-V included in the Liberal Democrats” list?
SUVs – take up more road space and cause congestion?
The three best-selling 4×4 / SUVs in the UK, Land Rover Freelander, Toyota RAV 4 and Honda CR-V are all shorter than a Mondeo or Vectra. How then can they be more responsible than larger cars for congestion?
SUVs – emit four times more CO2 at the tailpipe?
The group claims that 4×4 / SUVs emit up to four times more CO2 than ”cars”. This is nonsense. The average luxury saloon emits 286 g/km, 4×4 / SUVs emit 244 g/km and sports cars 232 g/km.
Carbon dioxide emissions from 4×4 / SUVs have also fallen by 14.6 per cent since 1997, more than the 9.7 per cent average for all new cars sold in the UK.
SUVs – cause more damage than any other type of car?
Out-of-date US research has been used to justify the claim that UK-sold SUVs in 2005 are inherently dangerous. The truth is that the vast majority are smaller car-derived vehicles, compared to larger truck-derived models sold in the US.
The focus on crash tests also ignores the huge investment in the latest active safety systems like ABS, electronic stability and traction control systems, as well as crash compatibility and anti-rollover features fitted to modern 4x4s like the Volvo XC90.
The following models and model derivatives listed by the London Assembly Liberal Democrats are not currently for sale through official distribution channels in the UK; Chevrolet K5 Blazer, Land Rover SI, Chevrolet S-10 ZR-2, Chevrolet Tracker, Dodge Dakota R/T, Dodge Raider, Mitsubishi RVR, Foers Ibex, Ford F150 XLT 5.8 Lariat, Honda Element 2.4 litre EX, Hummer, Infiniti QX4, Isuzu Bighorn, Isuzu Jimny, Toyota Surf, Vauxhall Monteray