The 5-seater pick-up, subject to the ecological penalty since July 1, 2019

The series of the taxation of the pick-up kept the professionals of the sector in suspense until the last days of 2018: will tax or not tax the pick-up? Finally, on December 20, the members of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly agreed to distinguish the pick-ups according to the number of passengers they carry, the mention on the gray card being proof. As a result, since July 1, 2019, five-seater pick-ups are subject to the same taxes as any other passenger or utility vehicle. The other pick-ups remain exempt from TVS and ecological penalties.

With the exception of the five-seater pick-up, utility vehicles are exempt from penalties.

The pick-up saw its sales double in France in the space of two years, to exceed for the first time the mark of 20,000 sales in 2017. Bercy had to be moved by it. The Ministry had therefore resolved to tax individuals and city dwellers who circulate in a pickup not to meet the constraints of their professional activity, but to escape an ecological penalty that they consider prohibitive on large four-wheel drive vehicles. .

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“Pick-ups (more and more often luxury) often emit nearly 200 grams of

CO2 per km … It would be anachronistic if they were not subject to the motor vehicle penalty! “, Thus estimated in October 2018 the deputy La République en Marche Matthieu Lorphelin. At the same time, the deputy of the Gironde Loïc Prud’homme (France Insoumise) estimated that this tax niche “alone represents a shortfall of 200 million euros per year for the State”.

In 5-seater pick-up, craftsmen and farmers are taxed, like individuals

After heated discussions, the Assembly’s Finance Committee in December 2018 abandoned the criterion of the number of doors, in favor of that of the number of passengers. It emerges from article 33 bis of the finance law that “pick-up” type vehicles not having a utility object are indeed subject to the tax on company vehicles since January 1, 2019, and the ecological bonus-malus since July 1, 2019.

Some pick-up distributors have found the loophole in this new regulation. It consists of selling a pick-up whose three-seater rear bench has been replaced by a “utility kit”, namely a large plastic bin designed to accommodate goods. Suddenly, the vehicle is no longer approved for five seats but as a two-seat utility vehicle, exempt from TVS and penalties.

The legal trick of the 5-seater pick-up transformed into 2-seater to escape the ecological penalty

Perfectly legal, the transformation of a passenger vehicle into a utility vehicle is a French specialty, practiced by all manufacturers and importers. “All over Europe, Ford is selling a two-seater Fiesta Van,” recalls Fabrice Devanlay, Ford France Press Communication and Public Relations Department. “Except in France, where the utility version of the Ford Fiesta is a touring version, to which the dealer withdraws the bench. It was relocated a few years later, once its corporate career was over, before being sold. ”

No question of waiting that long for buyers of 5-seater pickups. For them, the trick is to dismantle the utility kit installed by the dealer a few months after purchasing the vehicle, to reinstall the bench seat and request the administration to modify the vehicle registration document: the type of vehicle mentioned in the line titled “J.1” changes from “N1” (utility) to “M1” (tourism). Once the modification has been made, the vehicle can validly carry five passengers: the penalty is not due. The only constraint is that the holder of the vehicle registration document must present an invoice for the utility kit and a certificate of conversion by the concessionaire.

Manufacturers are preparing 4-seater pick-ups

At Mercedes-Benz France, the Vans department clearly admits that it is working on the upcoming approval of a four-seater variant of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class pick-up. A long process, which requires validation tests in partnership with the suppliers . There is, however, urgency. In a double-cabin pick-up market down 24% over one year, as of June 13, Mercedes has recorded a 36% drop in Class X registrations.

Toyota France informed Challenges that no four-seater version of the Toyota Hilux Double Cab pickup is officially under review. But some market observers doubt that a manufacturer can afford to close this option. “Renault and Volkswagen sell 100% of their Alaskan and Amarok pickups to individuals”, recalls one of them. “Against 45% for Ford, for example.” Obviously, the impact of the “five-seater” rule is not the same for all manufacturers.

Removing the rear central belt is not enough to avoid the penalty

By limiting taxation to only five-seater pick-ups, the legislator has taken into account the interests of professionals who make this type of vehicle a real working tool. As part of the exchange of good practices, manufacturers and their distributors undertake not to resort to expedients, let’s say … less elegant. It is rumored that some importers of large American pickups are content to remove the central belt to make four-seater vehicles.

The five-seater pick-up is subject to the annual TVS tax

As for the TVS, remember that the General Tax Code exempts the N1 approved pick-up on the pretext that, officially, it reserves two separate compartments for the transport of its passengers and goods. Since January 2019, however, five-seater pick-ups are subject to TVS.

In any case, the new regulations do not do the business of professionals for whom the pickup serves both as a utility vehicle during the week and as a family vehicle at the weekend. This is also true in mountainous regions, where a large proportion of double cabin pick-ups are concentrated, assigned to transporting people and equipment.