The return of the weight penalty unhappy with the automotive industry

Like an indestructible green sprite mounted on springs, he again sprang into the parliamentary game when he was believed to be under lock and key. A specific penalty on the weight of new vehicles will finally be added by the government to the finance bill for 2021, announced Thursday, October 15, the Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili.

The idea put forward in June by the citizens’ convention for the climate (CCC) resurfaced in September, during the preparation of the budget, before being retoque by Bercy. The project was then reappeared in the form of an amendment presented in committee and rejected – ironically – at the request of the government. It was finally during a final arbitration involving the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, and the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, that the subject was decided: penalty to the weight there will be.

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With this new tax, the limit triggering the penalty will be raised to 1,800 kg (instead of 1,400, according to the CCC proposal, and 1,700 according to the amendment by the deputy La République en Marche des Bouches-du- Rhône Jean-Marc Zulesi). Beyond that, 10 euros of taxation per kilogram of weight will be added to the price of the vehicle. 100% electric battery-powered or hydrogen-powered cars will be exempt, as will plug-in hybrid vehicles weighing more than 1,800 kg, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday, adding that the penalty will be reduced for cars with seven seats.

“A cold shower”

In truth, the measure is above all symbolic, vehicles over 1.8 tonnes representing only 2% of new car sales, mainly SUVs and large premium German or Swedish sedans as well as rare all-wheel drive 4 × 4s. field and pick-up. Almost no French brand automobile is concerned. Mme Pompilli, who fought to win the arbitration, was no less happy: “The weight penalty that we are introducing is a strong and necessary signal to better take into account the ecological footprint of the heaviest vehicles, she tweeted. The increase in the vehicle fleet means more materials and energy consumed, more pollution, less available public space. “

Several environmental associations and organizations have also welcomed the decision. “We finally have the impression of winning an arbitration”, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Grégoire Fraty, co-chair of the 150 citizens of the CCC. The NGO WWF hailed a historic government gesture but, despite everything, regretted that the project only concerns one “Niche” very heavy vehicles, the average vehicle weight in France being 1,240 kg.

As far as car professionals are concerned, the reception is quite different. “It’s a cold shower, notes Xavier Horent, CNPA general delegate, representing 140,000 companies in the automotive trade and services (dealerships, garages, etc.). This is a government reversal of which we were not informed. All this poses a problem of trust, legibility, consistency. We need fiscal stability, not every ten days change of foot. And then everyone will be the loser, because these vehicles will be sold anyway but in Belgian or Luxembourg concessions … We should not forget that in addition to being in a state of health emergency the country is also in a state of economic emergency. “

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