Maximising the value of clean cars

By Massimo Fedeli
First published in Auto Retail Profit, May 2019

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC diesel in your showroom is becoming a problem. It arrived as a trade-in with the right spec and at the right money but there’s been little interest and no offers. With the target stockturn date approaching it will probably be traded-on, removing any profit opportunity. But, is there something practical that you could do now, to sell the car and retain the margin?

The problem is consumer perception. In the last two years, car buyers’ trust evaporated when car makers’ over-stated mpg figures were revealed, followed by Dieselgate and then the confusing WLTP and RDE solutions. Add in the latest uncertainty about which cars may be banned from cities in the future, and it is no surprise that today only 42% of searches of the 500,000 cars for sale on Auto Trader are for diesel cars, when it was 70% just two years ago.

A simple truth to melt away confusion

There is now clear, trusted and independent information available to help car buyers see through the smog and make the right choice for their needs. The AIR Index is a traffic-light colour-coded rating of urban NOx emissions from A (the best) to E (the worst).  Launched in February 2019 it provides the results of on-road emissions tests in a simple and easily accessible format, providing confidence to both the seller and buyer about the actual emissions of each car.  

Sell the GLC – make the most of its B

A search of the AIR Index for the Mercedes GLC in the showroom shows that it is rated ‘B’. This means it has moderate levels of NOx emissions and is likely to be well within the limits of any city access policies and can be marketed accordingly. Why not make this clear to the buyer who can use this information to make an informed decision about suitability of the car and its potential future value, knowing it is a clean vehicle fitted with effective technology to reduce urban emissions.   

The AIR Index is available now to help consumers make the right choice for their needs and the right decision for air quality in our towns and cities. Whether the selection is petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric it can now be based on facts and these can enable you to sell clean cars, profitably and improve urban air quality for everyone.   


  • Look-up the AIR Index rating at for each car and compare vehicles.
  • Point of sale materials are available enabling you to show the AIR Index rating on silent salesmen next to the vehicle to explain the emissions performance for each vehicle.
  • A brochure explaining the AIR Index is available to provide explanation and information on the testing process and how it helps to inform effective decision making.
  • Individual certificates are available for each car rated in the AIR Index, confirming the result which can be kept with the book pack in the vehicle.

Massimo Fedeli, former Deputy Chairman of Fiat UK is the Co-founder of Allow Independent Road-testing (AIR), the not for profit company created to find practical solutions to the problem of urban air quality. AIR’s scientific advisory committee of leading air quality and vehicle emissions experts includes Dan Carder who led the team which uncovered Dieselgate.

Would you donate £10 to support the work of the AIR Alliance?

We provide practical solutions, including the AIR Index vehicle ratings, to ensure that independent, scientifically robust data are available to inform discussions and policy decisions which can help reduce the impact of harmful vehicle emissions. We are guided by a committee of the world's leading emissions and air quality experts who give their time and expertise to support our common goal of improving air quality and tackling the climate crisis. The AIR Index ratings and our expertise are used by public authorities and organisations across Europe to inform policy decisions. The AIR Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation and we fund our own testing and scientific programmes to provide AIR Index ratings free of charge. Please would you consider making a donation to support our work?

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