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ULEZ chaos leaves Addison Lee Galaxy deal in limbo

PD website news Addison Lee Ford Galaxy 300Ford has launched its all-new third-generation Galaxy MPV – but is budgeting without any sales to Addison Lee in the first full year.

Ford said it planned to sell around 3,000 of the all-new seven-seater, down from 6,250 sales in 2014. “We’re planning without any sales to Addison Lee,” said a Ford spokesman, who cited uncertainty over London’s controversial ULEZ proposals for private hire vehicles as a reason for the delay.

Addison Lee chief operating officer Catherine Faiers said Addison Lee had not ruled out buying new Galaxy, and said the next buying cycle would not start until March 2016. In the meantime, Addison Lee is still taking delivery of old-shape Galaxy models until the end of 2015 as part of a deal to take Ford’s run-out stock.

Faiers said: “The Ford Galaxy is synonymous with Addison Lee. We haven’t committed to the new model yet, but it would be unusual at this time to do that. We’re not locked in with Ford or any other manufacturer for2016 orders at this time.”

Addison Lee’s fleet has changed in recent years, and now includes large fleets of 350 Mercedes E300 Bluetec Hybrid and 350 Toyota Prius and Prius+ hybrids, many of which have been added through the acquisitions of Climatecars, WestOne Cars, Cyclone, Ecoigo and London Executive over the past three years.

The proposed 2018 ULEZ rules will force operators to look at hybrids – though currently no cars are available that meet the electric range element of the proposals, apart from pure electric cars such as Tesla S and Nissan Leaf. There are no plans for a hybrid Galaxy, and the new model has CO2 emissions of 129g/km, though it does meet the ULEZ Euro 6 standards applicable to private cars rather than PHVs.

Faiers said the ULEZ plans created uncertainty – new Galaxy would be OK to operate now, but cars joining the Addison Lee fleet in 2016 would be de-fleeted in 2018, and might be hard to sell on to other London private hire operators if they cannot be licensed.

Faiers added that Addison Lee was lobbying strongly for the TfL rules to be changed or toned down. “Regulatory bodies should be defining targets, not specifying technology,” she said. “We are lobbying for a phased introduction rather than counter-intuitive range-based targets.”

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