Failte WLTP – Not so welcome – car prices set to rise

Published on 06th September 2018 at 09:00

Letters that deliver

The New

WLTP, World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, will levy a definitive rating on every car based on its weight, trim level, wheel size, engine and other options. This will obviously create a variance between a model with cloth trim and steel wheels as against the same model with leather trim and larger alloys, producing fuel consumption and CO2 emission values according to the vehicles aerodynamics, weight and rolling resistance.

Our world is often condensed into anagrams, an accumulation of capital letters that sometimes form a word, but often appear as hard to remember randomers. When one considers that ABS, TCS and ESC have been in our motoring lexicon for decades now and it is a fair bet that few know what they mean, never mind what they do.

From September 1st, we have been asked to enshrine four new incumbents into our database and get ready to say adieu to four old ones. All manufacturers, who heretofore have subjected their vehicles to NEDC test procedures, will now be obliged to test in accordance with WLTP for vehicles sold in the EU as well as in Switzerland, Turkey, Norway, Liechtenstein, Israel and Ireland. Failte go WLTP.

Old and New together

Initially, the values measured within the WLTP will be a recalculation back to the NEDC values - this is because the EU Commission has developed a correlation technique for this purpose, which is intended to help the transition from NEDC to WLTP. The duration of this phase will depend on the respective national legislation and will, therefore, vary from market to market, with full WLTP by 2020. It is worth noting that running concurrently with this new test will be that all vehicles launched after September 1st 2017 and new registrations after September 2018 must be compliant to Euro 6.2.

SIMI says

Alan Nolan, SIMI Director General, stated on the implementation of WLTP, “For consumers, the changeover to the new emissions test was intended to be a very positive step providing better and more accurate information on environmental emissions and on fuel consumption to help them make better buying decisions. It was never intended that consumers should have to pay increased taxes as a result of this changeover but, if this is not addressed over the next two Budgets this is exactly what will happen.  

While there is not enough data available to be precise, indications are that CO2 values may increase by up to 10% in 2019 and perhaps by a further 19% in 2020 as we move to the full WLTP system. If there is not an appropriate adjustment to the VRT Bands to off-set the increased emissions values under the new test, in October’s Budget, then the improvements in emissions testing will simply deliver increased taxation and higher prices for the consumer. As a result, new car sales will be further eroded which again impacts on businesses, on State revenues and on the environment”.

The Old

Before we chat about WLTP, we must acknowledge that which it replaces, the soon to be sidelined NEDC, (by 2020), whose heretofore ratings set the CO2 and subsequent VRT, Annual Road Tax and importantly, the price of your new car.

NEDC, the New European Driving Cycle, has been in use since the 1993 Euro1 as a means of testing and quantifying a car’s CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. This test was largely theoretical and conducted in effectively laboratory conditions, over some twenty minutes. The end figure was more generic than it was accurate, hence the introduction of this more realistic testing via WLTP.

The vehicles tested under NEDC would not necessarily have been the high-end, full-specified models. Tested cars used would be the lighter, basic models, have minimal weight on board, with air-conditioning off. This will no longer be the case under WLTP.

We await the government’s future action on the implementation of WLTP and how they will adjust the current VRT, Road Tax Bands and how this will affect the cars retail price. WLTP has levied a cost to the manufacturer and while some of it can be absorbed, it is inevitable that some will be passed on to the consumer. The big unknown at present is how our upcoming Budget will reflect the WLTP changes.

Volkswagen’s short video explains WLTP.