Cabinet members are split over whether to replace their British-built Jaguar ministerial cars with Japanese Toyota Prius cars.
Business Secretary, John Hutton, is leading the criticism of the Government's decision to import the low-emission Prius for the ministerial fleet, saying: 'It sends the wrong message to domestic manufacturers.'
The Government, however, has already said that all ministerial cars must have carbon dioxide emissions below 130g/km by this summer, which rules out the use of the entire Jaguar range.
The only exceptions to this rule are for ministers requiring specially adapted cars for security purposes and for Trade Minister Lord Jones, who has been allowed to retain his Jaguar because of his duties promoting British exports.
The Government Car and Despatch Agency already has more than 100 hybrid Prius in its fleet of 171 cars.