Ford pressures Australian Government to drop Green Car Guide star ratings

At a time when fuel economy is a key focus for new-car buyers, a crucial star-rating guide on each vehicle’s environmental impact is about to vanish. According to an article in the Herald Sun.

Ford’s latest “eco” models, including the four-cylinder Falcon and diesel Territory, pictured above, don’t meet environmental criteria for some government fleets.

The Australian Federal Government plans to abolish star ratings on the Green Vehicle Guide following pressure from Ford, whose locally made “eco” models developed with $42 million of taxpayer money don’t meet some government purchasing requirements.

Ford says the entire car industry supports the move to drop the consumer-friendly ratings, but several leading brands have broken ranks. A poll by The Sunday Times found Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Mazda and Suzuki were in favour of retaining the Green Vehicle Guide star ratings.

The Australian Automobile Association (which represents seven million motorists) and the Australasian Fleet Management Association (which represents 600 fleet operators who manage more than 800,000 vehicles) are also in favour of keeping the ratings.

The Green Vehicle Guide lists fuel consumption and air pollution data of most new models and summarises the results with a rating up to five stars, similar to those on white-goods. The guide is used as a benchmark by business and government fleets and one in five new-car buyers visit the site each month.

However the star ratings, which have helped almost two million motorists over the past eight years, are set to disappear from the website on January 1 because, the discussion paper says, “consumers are much more knowledgeable about the environmental impacts of vehicles” than before.