With ZFE, rush into the Crit’Air 1 and 2 when the second-hand market is already tight.

His car does not go unnoticed. And for good reason, Claudie has been driving the highly sought-after Peugeot 205 Roland-Garros convertible for years. Rather, he was driving a car. Because this resident of Balma in Toulouse had to invest in a newer car to comply with the Pink City’s Low Emission Zone (ZFE). Since January 1, Crit’Air 4, 5 and unclassified, i.e. those issued for gasoline before 1997 and diesel since 2006, are actually banned from circulation in almost the entire city.

It would be better if there was no housekeeper. “My 205 will be thirty years old by the end of the year and will be a collector’s item. But in the meantime, I had to buy a car to go to work in Toulouse,” he says.

A lightly used Crit’Air 1 and 2 at an affordable price

Like hundreds of curious car owners, he scoured the internet late last year to unearth a rare gem – the affordable Crit’Air 2. “I thought about putting 5,000 euros, but I didn’t find anything. My husband and son also looked at garage owners and classifieds sites, but everyone did what we did and individuals sold a lot. I paid 9000 euros for my new car, but it is 2011 and has many kilometers. At the age of 64, I had to spend part of my savings there, it’s unfair,” he criticizes.

Drivers with the same problem as Claudy, Jean-Luc Bressolle, director of the Toulouse site of SN Diffusion, a distributor and agent for new and used cars, has recently encountered similar problems at his premises. “We are getting more and more inquiries from people looking for a Crit’Air 1 petrol or Crit’Air 2 diesel for under €5,000. These are people on a small budget who want something we don’t have,” says the man, who has been in the vehicle sales industry for more than three decades.

The establishment of the ZFE in Toulouse was indeed a phenomenon born out of the Covid-19 crisis. “The automotive sector has been affected by the shortage of semiconductors. Factories are still running idle today, which affects new car sales as we don’t know delivery times. Since the new market is not secured, there are many people who do not sell their second-hand cars, and thus the market for cars under 5000 euros is depleted in the cascade. “ZFE complicates this phenomenon because more of them want Crit’Air 1 and Crit’Air 2,” this expert notes.

Exploding prices on the second-hand market

If you’ve got to be lucky enough to find a used car that’s been allowed to drive within the perimeter of the ZFE for a reasonable budget, the commodity is also rare for the slightly higher-end. Patrick, who owns an older Golf Crit’Air 3, recently broke his clutch. Given the costs he had to pay to repair it and the new restrictions on the ZFE, he told himself he would invest in a new Japanese hybrid.

“The dealer told me that at best it will be delivered at the end of the year, early next year. Sometimes, by the same criteria, they had nothing. I went to a used car dealer in Lavaur and he told me that many Toulouse residents come to him looking for a used car for Crit’Air ZFE reasons. I looked at an online advertising site and found a car with 40,000 km for the same price as a new one, it’s crazy, “says the fifty-year-old. Second-hand prices have been on the rise for two years. According to the La Centrale observatory, from 40% in 2021 after increasing a lot, they are still up 19% in Q4 2022. Argus had to revise its ratings to match the market.

“I have the means, but how do those who don’t have the means do it?” Patrick asks. This observation, he is not the only one who made it. Pierre Chasseray, general representative of the national association, heard hundreds of such statements when he began a tour of France to talk about the ZFE, especially in times of inflation, to 40 million drivers.

“The problem is that ZFE will soon affect half of the carriage. But it will take more than a decade to update it, it’s just not possible. On January 1, 2025, just under two years from now, only Crit’Air 1 and 2 vehicles will be able to operate in the ZFE in all urban areas with more than 150,000 inhabitants. All metropolises that want to apply earlier want to get an image of the environment, but the Crit’Air sticker is not a classification of car pollution, but an age category, “recalls the defender of these car drivers.

Market for Crit’Air 3 outside of metropolitan areas

For some, it is even environmental nonsense, because all the old Jew’s harps without yellow or purple stickers could still be rolled for many years. For now, their search continues. “15-year-old cars are even selling very well. People will give them up in big cities, and it will be interesting for people living outside these low emission zones, mostly in rural areas or small towns,” emphasizes Laurent Hérail, president of the Tarn group specializing in Surplus Recycling. spare part and repaired car.

If a few years ago people were afraid to apply for the cars repaired by him, today they find buyers without difficulty. Some see it as a way to get into a new and affordable car while doing something for the planet. But not enough to satisfy everyone who needs a car on a daily basis.

“The government should push back the deadline for ZFE by one year everywhere. We said it would be a problem and I think he didn’t measure the impact,” continues Laurent Hérail, regional representative of the Mobilians distribution and car services union.

While many have called for this delay, others are hoping that the Crit’Air sticker concept itself will be reviewed and tweaked. So Pierre Chasseray of 40 million drivers will continue to lobby to change the rules. He hopes to include in the bill an “environmental compliance certificate” that can classify a car according to its pollution during a technical inspection.

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