Education over legislation

  18 April 2017

As someone who writes about the motor industry for a living, friends and family frequently use me as a sounding board before they buy a car. The question of whether or not they should go for a diesel has crept into recent conversations, but my counter questions remain the same: what’s your annual mileage and what type of driving will you do?  

More often than not, the cars are predominantly used for short, urban trips, so I tell them to avoid diesel for this reason – not because of any impending legislative changes. People often ignore my advice as soon as they see a diesel car’s official mpg figure, though; then they ring me up after they’ve bought it and complain that they’re not getting anything like the quoted economy.  

These conversations, along with the moves the government is now considering, make me think the single biggest issue is educating consumers about the right type of vehicle for the job; so many buyers flagrantly disregard their actual requirements over what is – let’s be honest – a fairly unrealistic figure, or something they just like the look of.

That’s where, I think, the retail sector comes in. You can’t force a buyer into a particular vehicle but you can present them with facts and guidance, and at its best, the industry can have a more pivotal role in shaping the types of vehicles consumers and businesses should be buying, than government carrots and sticks.  

Jack Carfrae

Acting editor

Auto Retail Agenda

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