Motor Show 1993: Why a sunroof might soon cost you the earth: Chris Wright reports on how tax changes will affect accessories for company cars

FROM NEXT April, changes to company car taxation will mean that vehicles will no longer be rated by size of engine, but on price - including the cost of any extras which may have been fitted.

Fears that this will have an effect on the take-up of accessories, however, have been played down. Industry analysts do not believe customers will go without their luxuries, because the additional tax burden to company car drivers will be no more than pounds 1 or pounds 2 a month.

The UK's thirst for additional equipment is one reason why vehicles are more often more expensive here than in the rest of Europe.

Most manufacturers and importers produce cars for a central stocking bank, rather than have dealers holding vast stocks, or waiting months for supply of the right car. By making fewer options available, customers are more likely to be able to pick off the shelf, leaving simpler, dealer-fit items, such as alarms, alloy wheels, CD players or fog lamps.

Rover has been pioneering this particular area. Spokesman Denis Chick said: 'We made a conscious decision to cut down the options list to reduce complexity on the production line and so improve distribution. We looked at the most popular options and included them as standard further down the model range.'

Ford equips its top models with air-conditioning as standard while it is an option on everything from Escorts upwards. Popular choices, however, are increased security and better in-car entertainment systems, including compact disc players.

When Renault UK introduced its Safrane executive car earlier this year it made a decision to fit air- conditioning across the range instead of a sunroof. Customer demand for a hole in the roof has since forced the company to rethink.

Renault still sees a future for air- conditioning, particularly for those living in large cities where the benefits are more obvious. Special edition models could be targeted at London, something Toyota did during the summer with its Corolla and sold through dealers inside the M25 ring.

At present, the cost differential is still high. Quoted as options, sunroofs generally cost pounds 400- pounds 450 while air conditioning is around pounds 1,OOO, but the price is falling all the time. It will drop further once volume builds up.

It is becoming more cost effective for manufacturers to include much of what once was considered an option on the standard vehicle. Buying in bulk for fitment at the production stage can reduce costs.

The industry feels that a reduction in equipment is unlikely, but it is already experiencing signs of fleets down-sizing, encouraging employees to have smaller vehicles. This is the main reason the executive car sector has suffered against the general rising trend in car sales.

Optional equipment, it seems, remains a very British way of demonstrating that you are just that little bit higher up the ladder.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator - Financial Services

£32000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, inte...

Recruitment Genius: Supply Chain Administrator

£8000 - £10800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Supply Chain Administrator is ...

Recruitment Genius: Client IT Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client IT Account Manager is ...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor