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Porsche Cars GB and London Mayor Clash over Proposed Congestion Charge Hike

by Jack Rosebro

The Times of London and other UK newspapers are reporting that Porsche Cars Great Britain will apply for judicial review of proposed increases in London’s congestion charge (earlier post), which will see the cost of driving the highest GHG-emitting cars (Band G, > 225 g/km) in the capital rise from £8 ($15.50) a day to £25 ($49) a day. The increased charges are scheduled to be implemented starting 27 October 2008.

Porsche says that the proposed increase in the congestion charge for Band G cars is disproportionate and that it will not reduce emissions in central London. All but two of the 56 Porsche model variants on sale in the UK are in Band G, according to VCA Drivers of the two that are not are in Band F will be levied the original £8 fee. By contrast, Transport for London’s analysis concludes that by 2010, CO2 emissions would be reduced by an additional 500 to 7,500 tonnes per year under the new charging scheme.

A massive congestion charge increase is quite simply unjust. Thousands of car owners driving a huge range of cars will be hit by a disproportionate tax which is clear will have a very limited effect on CO2 emissions.

Not only is this rise completely unfair to many drivers, but it will also damage London based-businesses of all sizes, and successful people from across the world will start to think twice about basing themselves here if they think they are going to be used as cash cows for City Hall.

—Andy Goss, Managing Director of Porsche Cars GB

A spokesperson for Mayor of London Ken Livingstone fired back:

Porsche’s threatened legal action is a double attack on Londoners. First Porsche are trying to deprive Londoners of their democratic right to decide in the Mayoral election on 1 May whether they want gas guzzling and polluting cars to drive in London when there is absolutely no need for them to do so. Second they are trying to impose on all Londoners unnecessary levels of pollution and greenhouse gases by a tiny minority. No one is allowed to throw their rubbish in the street and Porsche should not be allowed to impose gas guzzling polluting cars on Londoners who do not want them.

Porsche Cars GB said that it would issue a written complaint to the Mayor this week. Livingstone will then have 14 days to respond to Porsche. If he fails to respond, or refuses to reconsider his plans, Porsche intends to submit its application for judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice.




Instead of wasting money on lawyers Porsche should spend it on making cars that pollute less in terms of CO2. Their opinion is irrelevant anyway. Global warming is not going away because of a lawsuit. The war against GW will grow because the evidence of its seriousness is accumulating. Instead Porsche risk drawing a lot of attention to themselves as being the bad guy that pollute and is socially irresponsible. Now, if they get this image they are risking their entire business. They could be bankrupt in 7 years unless they start to change for the inevitable and that is to produce low CO2 emitting vehicles. The London charge is just the beginning. This legislation will be even tougher in the future as the negative consequences of global warming are realized. We have a planetary emergency and really very few care whether Porsche is able to adapt or not. I like their vehicles though. Just make all of them plug-in capable in the coming models. The battery premium for PHEVs is even more affordable with an expensive vehicle like Porsche than with inexpensive vehicles. PHEVs should start with the most expensive vehicles and move on to the less expensive vehicles as the battery cost drops.


Who was it said "Let them eat cake?"
Or drive a PGO Gas, that'll save at the bowser and 0 toll!
Porshe are correct that owners will feel dudded if they can't advertise little weenies wihout the captive High st audience snickering.

John Taylor

The Auto companies used the courts, got rid of clean air in California, and scrapped the EV1.

Now the same tactic is put into use getting rid of London's clean air ...

I no longer wish to drive a Porsche.


Good reason for Porsche to switch to battery electric!

Brutal acceleration and emissions to keep their tax-paying clients happy too.


The new charging scheme is class based dogma and hence is naturally anti Porsche and anti Range Rover.
But allowing cars with < 120 gms free entry will make things worse, not better.
If they had let them in for £4, that might be something, but free ? There will be hoards of small cars in Urbs and you will negate the congestion element.

However, it might serve as a signal to Porsche that they need to reduce their CO2 ASAP.
They could have special "London Tuned" 911's that generated 224 gms/km. It probably wouldn't affect the drivability very much.

No-one needs a 170 MPH car in London (or any city) except as a wealth display mechanism. However, you could have a car swap scheme just outside the zone where you could slip into something more comfortable (like a Mini Diesel) or a Toyota Aygo.

The cars could have stickers announcing "My other car is actually a Porsche". You could then charge £24 / day for the service.


At least someone is taking on this totalitarian mayor.

No one got to vote on this new charge not was it publicised during the last round of city hall elections.

Plus it is unjust. The congestion charge is supposed to be about reducing congestion. Replacing a Porsche Boxter with a Tesla does nothing to reduce land use and road congestion.

If its an environmental tax, then fine, call it an evirovnmental tax. At least then we'd know where we stand.

Oh, and another thing, I despise the way this tax is fiddled with every other month. First it was £5/day with promises not to increase it for 5 years, they broke that promise pretty quick.

Then they moved the boundary, and now they've changed the rules again.

If there was ever a clear example of opposing a new tax based on the suspicion that the politicians would change its remit once it is enacted then this is it.

What makes me laugh the most though is the whining from the electric noddy car makers. In case you didn't know all cars in bands A & B will be permitted to enter the zone free of charge.

A LOT of small cars (Toyota Aygo, etc) fall into this catagory. These will now be allowed to enter the zone free. However in one fell swoop, the Mayor has removed the (financial) incentive to own an EV, as now safer ICE cars (with proper NCAP ratings and everything) are permitted in for nothing.

The G-Wiz & similar noddy car makers now have no market in, what was, their only real competitive arena.



G-Wiz etc will simply adapt to compete with the gasoline vehicles with better safety etc. Frankly, they really have to anyway, so this is just a useful catalyst (if a little Darwinian).

Indeed, Reva are already working on a safe, Aygo etc competitor.

As for the issue of free entry worsening congestion, it's easily dealt with. Next year, turn down the CO2 limit to 110 g/km. Then 100 g/km.... then 90.... The manufacturers will still be keen to have vehicles for the London market!


Labeling a small group of people as sinners is not going to do the Global Warming cause much good.

If they're smart they only proposed it to bring unnecessarily polluting cars to the attention of the public and are going to withdraw it. In other words: a publicity stunt.


“Thousands of car owners driving a huge range of cars will be hit by a disproportionate tax which is clear will have a very limited effect on CO2 emissions.” —Andy Goss, Managing Director of Porsche Cars GB.

I can never understand how people again and again can argue that because their CO2 footprint is small compared to the global picture it is OK to be a CO2 polluter. It is like a criminal telling the judge to free him because his crimes do not mean much to the global crime statistics. This kind of argument reveals that the person cares for him selves only and has no desire for the good of the common.


"But allowing cars with < 120 gms free entry will make things worse, not better..."

I don't understand this. The LCC wasn't introduced yesterday. It's been there for years now. And the positive effects have been very extreme. The impact on air quality and on the time it takes to get from one part of town to the other has been dramatic:
The results have been so positive that Stockholm and Milan have copied the system, and others are soon to join in.

Of course they didn't start off at 25 pounds. If the objective is to get rid off the gas-guzzlers/heavy polluters then this needs to be done gradually, increasing the rate over a number of years. In other words it's a mechanism to gradually dissuade people from buying tractors. Milan for example has fees which are similar to what they were in London, but some time ago now.

Porsche have plenty to worry about. There are undocumented claims that these measures will lead to job losses in London. The only signs of job losses I've seen are in the German auto industry. New cars are also being taxed based on CO2 now in Europe as of January 1st, 2008. Some countries are rewarding buyers of thrifty, inexpensive vehicles with low emissions. Others, such as France and Spain, are at the same time penalizing those irresponsible enough to buy tractors even today given the problems we now face. The effect was a drop in SUV sales for January in these two countries by 60%. Audi and Mercedes sales there also dropped by 20% to 40%. In a matter of days it will be known if this is a steady-state trend or just a transient. Drops of 40% clearly are only sustainable as transients.

This is what is worrying Porsche, who have threatened the EU as well. This is why, though EURO emission standards have always been absolute figures, the Germans are paying through their noses to have the new EURO emission standards set out as CO2/kg or CO2/kw. This is basically to maintain the status quo. This is no longer sustainable.

The Germans, together with all the other European manufacturers, signed an agreement in 1998 to bring their average emissions down to 140 g CO2/km by 2008. Despite a heck of a lot of crying and melodrama from the manufacturers, the French and Italians have basically already achieved this in 2006. The Germans however did NOTHING. Their emissions have even gotten worse of late.

As the most expensive cars in whatever car segment, you'd expect them to have the best emissions, but they always come last. Despite their heft pricetage, in this list:
there is no class A mercedes, no Audi A2, no VW Polo or Golf, etc.

Just a couple of days ago Porsche recalled 19000 Cayenne SUVs globally because of poor workmanship:

That makes Porsche buyers double the fools. At these prices, surely the cars should be ZEVs nowadays? and one would hope of better build quality as well... if you really can't live without a sports car, wait for the Tesla......

The Germans may well pay their way in Bruxelles
, and they may well pay their way in London. But this is already a lost battle. They did nothing for over a decade and the consequences will be dire for them now.

Tom Street

Porsche has had plenty of time to figure out how to radically reduce the carbon footprint of its cars. Not only should they be discouraged from being allowed in London, but high taxes should be imposed to keep their cars off the streets everywhere. The idea that one's needs a car of such power and acceleration in the streets of London is absurd.

The people of London have the right to restrict the use of automobiles through their elected representatives. They should resist this attempt by a corporation to tell them what they should do.

Hopefully, this policy is a way to ween people away from their automobiles. Over time, auto free zones should be expanded to eventually include most, if not all, of central London.

In any event, if I had a Porsche, I certainly wouldn't be driving it in central London under any circumstances.


If Porsche owners are so "successful", why not buy a hybrid Lexus or (soon) a Tesla? Surely us lesser mortals shouldn't have to pay for their excesses.

Joe Blow

If CO2 is truly a pollutant as you say (and as the state of California is now apparently saying, too), then it behooves humankind to do two things immediately. Firstly we need to stop all CO2 emissions of all kinds, both biogenic and anthropogenic, and then we need to develop methods to scrub all traces of this pollutant from the atmosphere, much like we have done with SO2 for example.
This is a brilliant idea except for its fatal flaw, namely that we will all become much thinner for a while and then we will all die. Your labeling of CO2 as a pollutant is clearly not based on any plausible science and is nothing more than amateur psychology and pseudo-science - indeed CO2 levels are now, on the geological time scale, remarkably low, and CO2 is far from being a pollutant, even at 380 ppm.
Would you have us do the same for water vapor, which has a far higher greenhouse gas effect?
All of this has remarkably little to do with Porsches in London, and effectively banning them will have a tiny fraction of the effect that banning smoking (for example) will have on the health, both short- and long-term, of the inhabitants of London. But then this is not about public health is it?, but rather some warped sort of crude social engineering, that feeds into the wooly thinking of people like yourself.


A reasonable point from Posche's side is that a Porsche is not a Range Rover, despite what London's idiotic CO2 classification scheme may say.

Another point is that direct exposure to CO2 does no harm whatsoever to humans. So, why regulate an urban traffic environment based on CO2? CO, NOx, and diesel particulate are all very harmful and all tend to increase when you try to decrease the CO2 output of a given engine, so the CO2 regulation approach is likely a greater source of harm than good. It is anti-scientific.

Most importantly, Porsche will come up with a stupid way to reduce the CO2 rating of their cars. They'll create a mild hybrid version by slightly uprating the starter motor and changing the control software. This will bring their city component of the CO2 rating down enough to be allowed in the city. If they're smart, they'll build in a simple disable switch, like always leaving the car in performance mode instead of economy mode. So, this is probably just a delay tactic.

Rafael Seidl

I'm not sure why Porsche thinks it has a snowball's chance in hell of overturning this policy, but it's clear that city gents (and ladies) will now think twice before buying a G-band car for tooling around London. It's not that GBP 6000 a year would really hurt their bank balances all that much, it's more that they will not want to hand it over to Red Ken. You don't get rich by maximizing your tax bill. Also, customers know full well that loopholes such as registering G-band vehicles as minicabs will be closed soon enough.

On the other hand, it is understandable that Porsche would want to just vent some steam in light of official statements such as these:

"[Porsche] are trying to impose on all Londoners unnecessary levels of pollution and greenhouse gases by a tiny majority."

Porsche only makes gasoline-powered cars. Once they have reached light-off temperature, modern three-way catalytic converters are so good the air coming out of the tailpipe may contain fewer toxic compounds than the ambient air drawn in by the engine. As for CO2 from cars, it poses no immediate danger to human health and anyhow does not accumulate near the source of emission (unlike PM and NOx). Besides, the small number of Porsches on London streets means they are only responsible for a tiny fraction of total GHG emissions from that city. Also, asserting that any vehicle manufacturer is deliberately trying to poison a whole city would be serious allegation if it weren't so laughable.

"Porsche should not be allowed to impose gas guzzling polluting cars on Londoners who do not want them."

No-one is holding a gun to anyone's head. Wealthy Londoners buy Porsches and other G-band cars because they want to. If anyone is imposing, it is these customers.

It is unfortunate that the city hall spokesman decided to word his response in terms of old-fashioned class warfare. The core of the argument in favor of the proposed changes is to encourage wealthy individuals to be more civic-minded. They can most easily afford to set a positive example by switching to vehicles that consume less fuel - and force manufacturers to follow suit, no doubt kicking and screaming all the way to the bank.

Porsche made their name making great little cars with small
engines that had outstanding performance along with good
fuel consumption ,
Maybe they should consider this route again !


I would love to see the Cayenne made as a serial PHEV with a 40 mile all electric range, a top speed of 100 mph (plenty for me) acceleration of 0 to 60mph in less than 10 sec and an ultra efficient and clean flex fuel range extender. If they can do that within 5 years from now they will win all of my heart back. However, this legal nonsense is counterproductive beyond belief. It will be truly sad if a legendary vehicle producer goes down the historical drain just because they couldn’t adapt and because they focused all of their energy on a cause that serves no good and that is doomed to be lost anyway.


Ohh, I forgot, such a Cayenne wouldn’t have to pay for Red Ken either.


CO2 of course poses no direct health risks, just what happens indirectly through GHG effects.

However Porsche vehicles with high CO2 (and this happens pretty much to all cars with high CO2) have outrageously high levels of the other emissions as well.

For example, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo not only has over three times the CO2 of a Citroen C1 1.0, but it also has over three times the NOx:

Cayenne: CO2 358 g/km, NOx 0.033 g/km

C1: CO2 109 g/km, NOx 0.010 g/km

and NOx levels are a health problem.

Porsche aren't a manufacturer like Bentley or Ferrari, whose numbers for the entire UK you could count on your fingers. You'd have trouble in London keeping count of the number of Porsches you see on any given day....In the last financial year alone, over 9000 Porsches were sold in the UK .... in other words there are a couple of orders of magnitude more of these around than cars which really are a rare sight.....

The statement about imposing unnecessary levels of pollution on Londoners I think should be read as "the vast majority of Londoners are fed up with tractors"...
The situation was compared with people littering. I think passive smoking is closer to the mark. It doesn't really matter though, the important thing is that the "user pays" rule which we apply everywhere else needs to be applied here as well. "You're tripling the CO2 as well as the NOx because you feel like it?? Smashing, that'll be twentyfive quid, thankyou very much"

Even if it were an argument purely about CO2 and nothing else, the UK, as does all of the EU, has a legal commitment to reducing CO2. As a substantial amount of CO2 comes from cars this is something which will be happening in more and more cities in the EU (I suppose Porsche owners could migrate to the US). Porsche's legal actions may slow this process down. It certainly isn't going to stop it.

looks like the car to be to be seen in come the summer
of 2009 will be the Tesla , not exactly a hardship !
Those Porsche dealerships should be pitching to become
the dealer in London for Tesla , rather than mounting
expensive legal challenges !


Small number of Porsches in London Raph? You're joking right? It's got to be there biggest market area. They're ten a penny in London!!

Frankly they deserve it. A single hybrid proposal from a company that's making *that* much money? And even that technology is VW's. We shouldn't need Elon Musk to be making Teslas, that should be where Porsche were years ago instead of making fat barges for the US SUV market...

It's the sports cars stupid.... to paraphrase a bit...


word to he wise, "If you are knee deep in shite it doesnt pay to publicise it"


you have a habbit of saying smart things, even when they are not technical :).

I was raised in communism, and I'm sick of finger pointing to people that are wealthier then Joe The Average. Statement of a London official is exactly that.

I'm also sick of people who think that difference between 224 and 225 g/km is worth 3 times the penalty. OK, I know, no one with basic understanding of calculus works for the government, but a scheme like 0.1 pound / g CO2 shouldn't be "rocket science", even for local London communists.

Henrik, Karl-Uwe,
I agree that 911 has nothing to do downtown (it's clutch can be put to better use than stop-go), and that Cayenne is an oxymoron, but things should be done the right way.

First, "Congestion charge" should be about congestion, and should take care about space vehicle occupies. I guess that 911 does not take much more space than Mondeo/Passat/YouNameIt.

Second, local pollutants (NOx) should be addressed by local authorities. Karl-Uwe has a good point on that. But no, Ken The Commie knows that CO2 is buzzword these days, especially when elections are near.

Third, global pollutants (CO2) should be addressed by countries, but only per-km basis. That's the only fair way. A "greenie" driving a Prius 50000km/year is much bigger problem than a yuppie driving Cayenne 5000 km/year. Please check, you'll find 20 year old Porsche 959s with 5000km on the tach. 5000km IN 20 YEARS. 959 is an enviromental disaster in every way, right? No, Prius is.


The entire EU is not a herd of ranting lunatics. This is desperation at its worst. France, Spain, UK and Italy all have charges based on CO2/km, but not in this sense. If you aren't going to use it, then don't buy it. Or to put it another way, try to keep count of the Porsches you see on any given day.

When the head of Porsche claims that very affluent people will no longer settle in London
1) who gives a damn? if congestion is accepted as a problem, then the improvement of the living conditions of existing Londoners should be a more urgent issue
2) there is no reasonable evidence of this. when you're poor, you go pretty much where you can get a job and get by, no matter where this is. if you're very affluent, you certainly don't go to a city with the peak contamination levels and which will therefore offer you a lower living standard

CO2/kg, CO2/kw, kms travelled in the car, loss of business as a consequence of an improved transport system and health conditions..... I'm curious to see what they'll come up with next. All this energy and imagination should have been used in something more constructive years ago, as was agreed: making greener cars

Jack Rosebro

Porsche Cars GB has now produced a website to enlist support for their position:

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