France is to introduce a new tax aimed at heavier vehicles like SUVs, effectively punishing their first buyers for the extra resources these cars take to build and operate.
The tax will come in after the 1800kg mark, adding €10 per additional kilogram to the retail price of the car. Using current figures, that would drop an extra €5450 onto the price of a BMW X5 xDrive 30d, while only an absolutely basic Mercedes-Benz GLC would evade extra charges.
France’s own SUVs will escape any extra charges, as the likes of the Peugeot 5008 and Renault Kadjar fall well below the 1800kg threshold. The Jaguar E-Pace isn’t so lucky, though, with as much as €1260 falling atop a list price that already looks pretty likely to rise in the immediate post-Brexit climate.
France already taxes the most-polluting cars with up to €20,000 (£18,250) in additional enviro-naughtiness charges. The move was announced by the country’s environment minister, Barbara Pompili. A source from her department is quoted by news agency Agence France-Presse as saying that the weight tax “is meant to encourage people to avoid very large and heavy models, but also to encourage the industry to take its entire ecological footprint into account and not just emissions.”
Outside of SUVs, the tax will add cost to the heavier half of the BMW 5-series range – up to €2350 on the chunkiest. Audi’s A6 could see an extra €2200 charge; Mercedes’ S-Class up to €5600 and even the hybrid Lexus LS 500 an extra €5400 - although at this time it’s thought that hybrids and ‘family cars’ may eventually be exempt. Good luck drawing the lines on that one, France.
It’s unlikely that the French market alone is big enough for manufacturers to take significant (costly) weight-saving steps to chop hundreds of kilos off their porkiest wares. That said, any cars that are hovering around the 1800-1900kg mark might suddenly see savings in their next iterations.