With just 143 examples registered in the UK, Aston Martin has quietly dropped the Cygnet city car – based on the Toyota iQ. According to UK mag Autocar, Aston Martin will also not be re-entering this space, and will focus on what it does best: making high end performance cars. Originally conceived as a way to meet strict European emissions rules, the Cygnet failed to meet Aston’s initial sales projections of 4000 units annually.
A scheme to tax cars based on their C02 output could have the unintended consequence of causing UK motorists to scrap tens of thousands of perfectly good cars in the UK, solely because their annual tax rates, based on C02 consumption, have become too expensive for many motorists.
When government, media and industry agree that a trend exists, it’s generally taken as fait accompli. After all, these three institutions wield immense cultural power, and together they are more than capable of making any prophecy self-fulfilling. But there’s always a stumbling block: acceptance by the everyday folk who actually make up our society. And when a trend is taken for granted, the ensuing rush to be seen as being in touch with said trend often generates more heat than light. Such is the case with the trend towards “green cars.” Few would deny that they are “the future,” but at the same time, there’s been precious little examination of how this future is to be realized. And when such examination does take place, it tends to raise more questions than it answers.
Toyota and Fiat may not be setting European sales charts alight, but according to a recent analysis of per-vehicle CO2 output, the two automakers are on the cusp of meeting the EU’s stringent 2015 standard. Automakers competing in Europe will have to reduce their carbon emissions to 130 gm/km by 2015, a huge challenge for firms like BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen, which currently have average emissions of 151, 167 and 153 grams per km respectively. Fiat and Toyota, on the other hand, have already reduced their emissions to 131 and 132 grams per km, putting them within a sneeze of the 2015 standard. But the auto industry never though that any of its firms would be on track for overcompliance. In fact, the AFP reports
In 2008 carmakers successfully pushed back from 2012 to 2015 the deadline for technological innovation, allowing them to meet stipulations, in exchange for a commitment to drop to 95 g/km by 2020.
Despite not insignificant loopholes, they can be heavily fined if they miss these targets as the EU strives to meet wider aims in reducing emissions of harmful gases blamed for negative climate change effects.