Industry gears up for WLTP introduction

In just a week’s time, the EU’s new more rigorous emissions test, the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) will finally be rolled out, two years after news of the Volkswagen emissions scandal first broke.

It will apply to all new car type model approvals from September 2017 onwards, replacing the previous NEDC procedure, and incorporate real world driving conditions into the test for the first time, as well testing with optional equipment fitted, to give a truer impression of vehicle emissions on the road.

It is hoped the new WLTP test, alongside software updates and scrappage incentive schemes announced following the Berlin diesel summit earlier this month, will help restore political and public confidence in the EU emissions testing procedure following Dieselgate, and avert costly diesel driving bans.

The new WLTP emission test has enormously far-reaching implications, affecting pricing, residual values, sales volumes and revenues. Premium brands who previously NEDC-tested their vehicles without popular optional equipment installed are likely to see the greatest increase in their fuel economy and emissions figures, due to the additional weight these add to the car.

Japanese and Korean OEMs such as Toyota and Hyundai are expected to benefit the most from the new testing procedure, due to their typical strategy of including higher levels of specification in their cars as standard to compete with their European rivals, at a similar price point.

Some more confident OEMs have already started publishing WLTP CO2 and mpg (miles per gallon) figures for their new models alongside the NEDC figures. However, with all new models launching from September forced to publish WLTP figures, and with some manufacturers having developed more sophisticated methods to optimise their vehicles for the outgoing NEDC test, it is expected that a considerable number of headline-grabbing shocks are on the cards. Figures from some models could suddenly be significantly higher than competitor models they previously outperformed, and this could also result in changes to marketing strategies.

Read more: Autovista Group

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