Changes loom in 2017 for Britain’s company car drivers

  • Car choice lists bigger than ever before
  • Petrol vs diesel debate being skewed
  • Official mpg, CO2 and tax changes afoot
  • Britain’s company car drivers face more complex decisions in 2017 than ever before, the head of SEAT’s fleet division has warned Parkers.

    With wholesale changes to VED car tax, new stricter fuel economy testing, a consultation on company car tax and ever-growing choice on car lists, it’s a tough time for business drivers to choose what’s right for them.

    Peter McDonald, head of SEAT fleet sales, admitted company car choice was at an all-time high. ‘Buyers are being offered more choice than ever before. The SUV segments are exploding - our Ateca crossover is getting us on more people’s radar than before and we’ll launch the Arona small SUV later in 2017.’

    Petrol or diesel company cars?

    McDonald said the decision whether to plump for petrol or diesel was also becoming more complicated, with shifting tax regimes, market perception after Dieselgate and improvements made to petrol technology, meaning products like the Leon Ecomotive now offer CO2 as low as 102g/km.

    ‘I can only see it moving in one direction,’ he admitted. ‘Petrol is becoming more popular again among business users.’

    A whopping 90% of fleet buyers choosing the SEAT Ibiza now pick petrol.

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    New economy testing and company car tax changes

    And Europe's new, tougher fuel economy testing regime, due to be introduced in the UK in autumn 2017, is likely to affect company car users in the long run too.

    Drivers will have more realistic economy figures to compare - and it could eventually overhaul how CO2 emissions are calculated, which would affect company car tax. ‘It depends on the government’s view,’ McDonald said. ‘Some company car owners may see their tax bills go up.’

    Separately, HMRC is consulting with the industry to overhaul cash for cars schemes, which could leave as many as 500,000 company car drivers with different bills, according to accountancy firm Deloitte.

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