THERE are some big changes in Vehicle Excise Duty on the way in a few weeks.
Such is the scale of it that Ford is leading its biggest customer care exercise of the decade to prepare for changes in road tax due in under six weeks' time.
From April 1, VED on new cars will first be calculated from the model's CO2 emissions.
After that, the majority of cars will move to a standard rate of £140 annually from the second year.
Cars with zero emissions will be exempt from new, while others priced over £40,000 will be charged an additional £310 a year, on top of the standard rate, for the following five years.
As market leader with the most customers to guide through the transition, Ford began advising its car buyers last year on the changes.
The customer liaison necessary, by Ford HQ and dealer staff, is at a level not seen since the scrappage scheme in 2009.
Ford's most sought-after models such as the Mustang, the Focus RS and the Edge SUV have longer leadtimes, meaning that those buyers were made aware first of the March 31 deadline to register cars against lower outgoing VED bands.
All of those become more expensive to tax from April - apart from coupe Ford Mustang V8s, which become almost Â£200 a year cheaper to tax over six years.
Right-hand drive 5.0-litre Fastbacks, costing well under the new system's premium rate Â£40,000 threshold, become Â£995 more tax efficient in this period.
The zero VED rate currently applies to 93 per cent of new Ford Fiestas - Britain's best-selling car - thanks to low CO2 emissions.
March's introduction of the new 17-plate are likely to prompt a surge in Fiesta sales ahead of the new annual VED levy.
For example, someone buying a Ford Fiesta 1.0T EcoBoost Zetec with a CO2 rating of 99g/km and currently below the car tax threshold will, after April 1, pay a first year rate of Â£120 then Â£140 per year thereafter - a Â£400 road tax bill over three years.
From April 1 free road tax will apply to zero-emission vehicles only - and in the current Ford line up that applies only to the battery powered Focus Electric Vehicle.
With a 140-mile range and 30-minute fast charging, the Focus BEV is part of Ford's Â£3.5 billion investment in electric vehicles in the five years to 2020 - and it costs Â£31,680, almost twice as much as the cheapest petrol-engined Focus and more than the Focus RS.
Andy Barratt, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, said: "After last month's biggest January vehicle sales volume for Ford since 1990, these imminent VED changes are driving further sales peaks. I anticipate a bumper March especially as buyers move fast to beat the tax man."
Rush to beat the tax man