Definitions in relation to VAT

V1.293 Motor car

“Motor car” means any motor vehicle of a kind normally used on public roads which has three or more wheels, meets one or other of the conditions, and does not fall within the exceptions, set out below1.

The expression “any motor vehicle of a kind normally used on public roads”, construed as a whole and in its ordinary sense, points to the broad classes of motor vehicles normally used on public roads, eg saloon cars, estate cars and sports cars. Even if the expression is more narrowly construed, continental versions of saloon cars are vehicles which are “normally used on public roads”2. In Sixth Gear3, HMRC accepted, prior to the hearing of the appeal, that a Lamborghini Murcielago two-seater sports car was not a “motor vehicle of a kind normally used on public roads”, since its suspension “was programmed solely for track use”.

It is the physical attributes of a vehicle, and nothing else, which are taken into account in deciding whether or not it amounts to a motor car within the statutory definition4. It is therefore irrelevant that a vehicle is registered as a heavy goods vehicle5.


(i) The vehicle is constructed or adapted solely or mainly for the carriage of passengers6

The mere fact that a vehicle habitually carries one or more individuals in the course of the work for which it was designed does not ipso facto make it a vehicle constructed solely or mainly for passengers7. A vehicle is therefore

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