Oct 28 2008 Steve Hughes
The fight for survival of 4x4s
MORE than three million owners of 4x4s are now fighting for their vehicles' survival in the UK and are being urged to sign-up to a charter in a bid to avoid extinction.
Hostility towards users of 4x4s is now said to be so intense that owners face daily abuse and unless self-imposed action is taken the vehicles will become unwanted and worthless.
Prices have already plummeted by as much as tens of thousands of pounds and sales of new models are down by almost 20 per cent so far this year.
Motorpoint car supermarket boss David Shelton says that his company has slashed prices by as much as £15,000 off some nearly-new models and many second-hand examples can only find takers at give-away prices.
Now owners are being urged to join a national 4x4 charter that encourages owners to avoid the sort of driving behaviour that is causing so much hostility.
The charter aims to show that some 4x4s are actually greener than large saloons, owners are not always arrogant or aggressive and many of the vehicles are the most appropriate for their owners' lifestyles.
Robin Cole, director of the 4x4 Charter, says: "Gas-guzzlers, Chelsea tractors, toff-roaders, roadents - whatever term is used they have had enough of the taunts.
"Owners have now set up their own 4x4 Charter at www.4x4charter.com , which encourages environmental awareness and aims to counteract the criticisms and attacks received online, in the media and in parliament.
"By imposing self regulation we hope to end the hostility from the Government, environmentalists and activists.
"We need to bring 4x4 owners together and create a national community with a single voice that will be heard in the corridors of power.
"There are constant threats of tax hikes, insurance premium rises and increased parking charges.
"Owners suffer damaged vehicles, fake parking tickets and verbal abuse."
Those who sign-up to the charter and promise to follow its ten-point code of conduct will have a tree planted in their name to help off-set their carbon footprint.
The campaign will use only eco-friendly paper, ink and other materials and all companies associated with it will have to be among the greenest in the UK.
There will also be a 4x4 Charter members' on-line shop that will stock only recycled, Fair Trade and eco-friendly products.
"I hope the charter will be carbon neutral within its first year. We are aiming to attract all UK 4x4 owners because three million members would be a voice that any Member of Parliament would hear,'' added Mr Cole.
Many diesel-powered 4x4s are more economical than large saloon cars with powerful petrol engines and in the case of hybrid models such as the Lexus RX400h the CO2 emissions can be lower than those of even compact cars.
The charter's ten points are:
1 . Drive with consideration for others
2 . Park your vehicle sensibly and legally
3 . Respect the countryside and leave nothing but tracks
4 . Drive economically
5 . Stay within the law
6 . Plan your journey
7 . Share the ride
8 . Dispose of vehicle waste carefully
9 . Avoid unnecessary journeys
10 . Take it off/turn it off