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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 12:18 GMT
Mayor 'delighted' with 4x4 slump
A 4x4 car
4x4 vehicles appear to be losing their appeal, the figures suggest
London Mayor Ken Livingstone has said he is delighted by figures showing a slump in the sale of 4x4 vehicles.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) announced sales of 4X4s fell by 15.2% last month, compared with November 2005.

The mayor wants to raise the congestion charge for the most polluting vehicles, which include some 4x4s, to 25.

"I'm delighted to see [4x4s] withering on the vines," Mr Livingstone told BBC London 94.9.

Changing priorities

Some 164,641 new 4x4s were sold between January and November 2006, a 5.5% decrease on the same period last year, the SMMT said.

The fall reflects a 3.1% overall dip in car sales in the first 11 months of this year compared with January-November 2005.

"There is no doubt that environmental factors are rising up the agenda for new car buyers," said SMMT's Christopher Macgowan.

"Lower fuel consumption and emissions are now as important for many people as safety features and price."

Mr Livingstone's plans would see the congestion charge increased for the highest-polluting vehicles by 2009.

Motoring groups blame the drop in 4x4 sales on moves by government and local authorities to penalise drivers of polluting vehicles with higher charges.

Sheila Ranger, of the RAC Foundation said: "Not everybody can afford to change cars and some may need such vehicles for work purposes or health reasons and we feel they are being unfairly penalised."

Richmond upon Thames council announced in October it was considering linking the cost of parking to the size of cars.

In March, Chancellor Gordon Brown raised vehicle excise duty for the most polluting petrol-fuelled cars to 210.

Study 'to show fall in 4x4 sales'
06 Dec 06 |  Business
Polluting cars face charge rise
14 Nov 06 |  London
Most car brands 'failing on CO2'
25 Oct 06 |  Science/Nature

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