Plans to feature Lamborghini, Ferrari and a Porsche in the new series have been abandoned in favour “unfashionable” classics like the Citroen Ami 8 and a Lanchester. Executive producer Andy Wilman, 48, said the show could not ignore the recession. “This series we were going to film a road trip with a Lambo and a Porsche,” he said “Now it will be cars like the Toyota iQ because they’re smart and clever and you can sense the mood. We’re not that thick.”
Earlier this year Clarkson, 48, said he would ignore the 30 per cent cuts. He said: “We’ll keep going till the cash runs out.”
Producers also want the show to reflect the changing interests of viewers hit by the credit crunch and show “more sedate cheaper, greener” models.
Mr Wilman revealed that he would like to make a version called Boring Top Gear, featuring “down-to-earth” consumer advice rather than blowing up caravans or playing darts with scrap cars.
A BBC spokesman said: “You can rest assured that the supercars will still be there in the new series because those cars are about fantasy and escapism.
“But we realise money’s tight, so we’ll also be devoting screen time to smaller, cheaper cars.”
Mark Thompson, the corporation’s director general said last week that BBC will have to make £400 million in “painful cuts” and warned stars and senior staff would face pay cuts.
Clarkson is believed to get £2 million a year, while Hammond and May reportedly get £25,000 a show.