Sunday 20 August 2017

Revealed: why some of these cars cost €30k more under new rules

NSAI details the various vehicles that it tested which failed to meet the official measurement requirements for converting to lower-tax category

New laws could dramatically increase the cost of cars
New laws could dramatically increase the cost of cars
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

All passenger vehicles tested since October have failed new criteria for converting to commercial rates of VRT and road tax that previously saved owners up to €30,000.

It can be revealed today that the vehicles tested over the past four months did not meet new official measurement requirements for converting to the lower-tax category.

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) said none of the 28 vehicle types - by 13 different manufacturers - inspected since October met the "latest criteria" for motors with two or more rows of seats "for conversion from M1 (passenger) to N1 (commercial)".

The revelation was in response to several queries on the matter from Independent Motors. The NSAI has developed a "more precise, standardised" method of measuring the dimensions of rear apertures/tailgates on these vehicles.

It is important to note that the new test method applies only to those vehicles with two or more rows of seats.

Previously, owners could get 'type approval' to change such vehicles from passenger to 'commercial'. It was a move capable of reducing road tax from as much as €1,600 to as little as €333.

And in the case of some the larger, new, passenger 4x4s, taking out the third row of seats and meeting other criteria could save owners up to €30,000 because of the dramatic fall in the level of Vehicle Registration Tax imposed.

In other words, you could have a new passenger 4x4 costing one person €100,000 because they retained all three rows of seats. But because the owner of another took out the third row (and so long as he/she met quite specific cargo dimensions) the same vehicle type could cost €70,000 - a huge saving of €30,000.

The attraction was that, with previous regulations, you could get a mix of commercial workhorse and five-seat family-car all in one - at the much lower VRT and road tax levels as outlined.

Now it appears the chances of benefiting from such '5-seater commercial' largesse have become severely restricted with none of those tested since October enjoying a reduction.

The list of criteria for commercial vehicle classification is on the NSAI website: www.nsai.ie/Our-Services-(1)/Certification/1--Automotive-files/M1-to-N1-conversions-Rev-02.aspx

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