Vertu CEO accuses government of ‘doing nothing’ to boost BEV retail sales

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Vertu Motors CEO Robert Forrester has accused the government of “doing nothing” to stimulate sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

The government, he said, was had their “fingers in their ears” on the issue while they waited for the next government to sort it out.

Forrester was speaking this morning on the BBC’s Today programme. Commenting on the March plate-change sales figures, he said fleet was driving the new car market while private sales were flat.

“In terms of growth, fleet [is the driver]. We have seen this for months. The market is not rebounding after the pandemic to the extent people thought it might.”

Forrester said tough times for consumers was hitting retail demand, adding that the government had failed to introduce any incentives for the retail sector as it had done for fleet.

“It is high interest rates, the cost-of-living crisis but also there is this big legislative push on battery electric vehicles and that is not really gaining traction in the retail market.

“There are financial incentives in place by government for companies to buy battery electric vehicles for their employees for use as company cars. There are no incentives in place in the retail market. The private individual is not moving into the BEV market.”

Forrester added that there was a disconnect between the government’s EV Mandate scheme on the one hand that imposes fines on the industry if it fails to sell BEVS while at the same time it has not added measures to stimulate BEV sales.

“The government has put in place a very strong fine system for manufacturers if they do not hit 22% of the cars sold this year being battery electric vehicles. I suspect the industry is tracking quite significantly behind on that.

“Manufacturers are looking at big fines unless they take other actions. The government seems to just sit there with their fingers in their ears and wait for the next government to sort it out.

“It is not good for investment plan for manufacturers to have big fines coming at them at the end of the year. The government has centralised plans for the new car market and done nothing about it,” he said.

Click here for the interview

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