In September 2018, the car industry could be altered by the introduction of the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), forcing manufacturers to offer large discounts on vehicles that don’t meet the standards. The WLTP is working in tandem with the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test, which provides more accurate nitrogen oxides (NOx) figures.
The tests are replacing the current New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which means your car could potentially be deemed 20% less fuel efficient and 20% more polluting. Changes to the current test have been ongoing for nearly ten years, due to the NEDC not being considered accurate enough.
The chairman of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), Mike Hawes, said “this is an opportunity to reassure consumers that their cars will achieve figures much closer to the official ones.”
The new tests are designed to give motorists peace of mind that the car they buy will be the kind of efficiency quoted by the manufacturer. The testing is already being carried out, with governments using the interim period to work out an accurate conversion between new and old measurement systems. The German Associate of the Automotive Industry has estimated fuel economy and CO2 figures will increase by 22%. Some manufacturers like BMW have already released figures, increasing CO2 outputs by as much as 14%.
In terms of a knock on effect, companies left with large stockpiles of unsold pre-WLTP cars wouldn’t be able sell any to customers, potentially forcing a business to scrap them before they reached showrooms.
As it’s common practice for brands to build more cars than they’ve sold, it may force them to pre-register large numbers or sell unsold vehicles in the build up to the deadline. This could lead to a heavy discount in order to reduce the number of unsold cars. Many European countries have provided a period after the deadline for manufacturers to sell pre-WLTP cars off, though the UK government hasn’t announced any plans yet.
Full implementation of the tests is going to take place in 2021.