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Euro emissions subsidies not for Australia: BMW

Green scheme: German manufacturers including BMW have outlined plans to offer incentives for trading in old diesel-powered cars for newer, cleaner models in Europe.

BMW says no plans for eco incentives underway in Europe to be offered here

BMW logo11 Aug 2017

By ROBBIE WALLIS

BMW Australia has no plans to follows the action taken by the German manufacturer in Europe and the United Kingdom to upgrade diesel-powered vehicles and offer subsidies to buyers who trade in older, more polluting models for newer, greener alternatives.

BMW Group Australia general manager of corporate communications Lenore Fletcher told GoAuto that the company would not rule out adopting such policies in future, but said it was not on the cards at this stage.

“There isn’t any plan at this point to do that, or to implement any of those measures within the Australian market,” she said.

“It’s not something that has been discussed for our local market – we never say never, but at the moment there are no plans.”

This is the same position adopted by Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific, which has sought advice from its parent company in relation to the software updates and reported that no such “voluntary recall” is required here.

Ms Fletcher said BMW Australia had demonstrated its commitment to eco-friendly motoring with the seven electrified models now in its range, putting the onus back onto government for stimulating sales of greener vehicles.

“As you know, there is no incentivisation, there is no policy direction or strategic direction from the legislation and the regulatory bodies here in Australia, so whilst we’re happy to invest our money to develop the technology, the technology has outstripped the legislation and we really do urge the government to reconsider its position and do something,” she said.

As GoAuto has reported, BMW and other German car manufacturers including Daimler, the Volkswagen Group and Opel have agreed to update software in 5.3 million diesel-powered vehicles in Europe a bid to cut emissions and quell the rising opposition against oil-burning engines in its home market.

BMW is also offering an EU-wide “environment bonus” of up to €2000 ($A2989) for owners of Euro 4 (or earlier) diesel vehicles to trade in their car and purchase a greener model, and this week extended the offer to the UK, where buyers will receive £2000 off any new BMW or Mini vehicle that emits 130 grams per kilometre of CO2 or less.

This includes hybrid and EV models such as the i3, i8, the entire BMW i Performance range and the Mini Countryman PHEV.

Asked whether BMW Australia would change its position if the federal government developed an incentivisation policy to match those in Europe, Ms Fletcher said: “I think it would certainly make it a more attractive proposition to consider, but again there’s a lot of different elements at play in putting forward a program like that, so it would take a little bit of discussion and time to talk about.

“Like I say, we never say never, but at the moment there are no plans to look at a program like that here.”

BMW UK’s response this week follows the British government’s announcement last month that it planned to ban all new conventionally powered petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 – a move that brings it into line with France, which is working to the same timeframe, and Norway, which plans to implement such a ban in 2025.

The German manufacturer says that more than 80 per cent of its current range has a combined-cycle emissions rating of 130g/km or less, while for Mini that figure is just under 70 per cent.

To qualify for the lower emissions allowance scheme, UK customers need to trade in their diesel-powered vehicle with a Euro 4 emissions standard or lower, which they must have owned for at least 12 months.

BMW says customers will be given “a suitable average price for their existing car” and that the allowance is offered in conjunction with any other government or retailer incentives already in place.

The German car-maker has implemented the same policy in Germany, with a €2000 trade-in bonus.

Following the “national diesel forum” summit held in Berlin last week, German compatriot Volkswagen has also announced an environmental incentive program in its home market, offering up to €10,000 for the trade-in of a Euro 1-4 standard diesel vehicle for a Euro 6-compliant VW model.

Incentives range from €2000 for the diminutive Up micro car, all the way up to €10,000 for the Touareg large SUV, while customers can get additional discounts with the purchase of a vehicle with an environmentally friendly powertrain.

A €1000 bonus is applied for natural gas powertrains, while hybrid and full-electric vehicles garner a discount of €1785 and €2380, respectively.

Similar schemes are currently being planned for the UK market.

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