Head of Ford Ireland, John Manning, is calling for safety systems on cars and vans to be exempt from tax in an effort to encourage drivers to specify enhanced safety options when they buy a new vehicle. Automotive safety technologies have come on in leaps and bounds over the past number of years. The latest safety systems in our cars draw on cutting-edge sensor and advanced communications technologies that enable a vehicle to ‘see’ not only other vehicles, but also pedestrians and cyclists. However, many manufacturers provide these safety systems in ‘add on’ optional packages on which both VRT and VAT are charged, often pushing up the price of these life-saving technologies by more than €400.
For example, consider the Driver Assistance Pack on Ford’s new compact SUV, the Puma which includes a range of new technologies such as:Autonomous Emergency Braking by Radar/Camera, Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert and Active Braking, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Evasive Steering, ACC Stop and Go incl. Traffic Jam Assist, Active Park Assist, Front Parking Sensors, and Rear View Camera. That package costs some €1,455 of which the tax element is €416. For a similar pack on the Ford Kuga, the tax take is in excess of €430.
Manning commented: “We have long argued that applying VAT and VRT to systems and technologies that help to improve road safety is short-sighted and a serious dis-incentive to customers to make their new vehicle as safe as possible. We should be doing all we can to encourage motorists to opt for the latest safety technologies but applying VRT and VAT on such technologies makes it a very hard sell for our sales people in Dealerships across the country”.
“It is a sad fact but many motorists will often opt to specify a better entertainment package for their new car rather than an enhanced range of safety technologies. Exempting such safety technologies from VRT and VAT could help to improve road safety for all users of our roads, not just drivers”.