SPD to end German tax break for SUVs
14 April 2004
BERLIN – Growing popularity of fuel-guzzling sport utility vehicles in Germany such as the VW Touareg and BMW X5 has led to calls by the country’s ruling Social Democrats for an end to tax breaks for off-road trucks, media reports said Wednesday.
Under a German tax loophole vehicles weighing over 2.8 tons which can be used to transport both people and freight are taxed not by engine size but rather by overall weight.
This means the VW Tourareg pays EUR 185 in road tax per year instead of EUR 803 if it were taxed according to engine size as are normal cars, according to Germany’s ADAC automobile club as quoted in the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
“We must take a stand against this tax policy madness,” said Ernst Ulrich von Weizsaecker, head of parliament’s environmental committee for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats (SPD).
SPD deputy parliamentary leader Michael Mueller made it clear the tax break would be eliminated, saying: “This will change.”
Environmental groups such as Greenpeace have long attacked SUVs in Germany for their higher use of petrol and greater emissions.
Nevertheless, SUVs are still not nearly as popular in Germany as in the United States where off-road trucks and large cars now comprise about 50 percent of all vehicles, Mueller admitted.
In Germany there were about 830,000 SUVs on the roads last year – a rise of 12 percent in comparison with 2002.
This is out of 44.7 million total registered vehicles, according to official figures.
Subject: German news