The European car industry cannot agree with the proposals made by the European Commission on CO2 emissions from passenger cars. The proposals are unbalanced and damaging to the European economy in terms of wealth, employment and growth potential. The European vehicle manufacturers call on the EU Member States and the European Parliament to take the lead in the current debate and start a broad and fair discussion based on sound facts and figures.
“We ask the EU governments and the European Parliament to design a reasonable and levelheaded strategy to reducing CO2 emissions from cars towards the EU target of 120 g CO2/km by 2012, involving efforts from all relevant parties and including both existing and new cars on the road”, says Sergio Marchionne, President of the Brussels based European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and CEO of FIAT Group. “The ideas put forward today by the European Commission focus too much on vehicle technology, denying the fact that a broad range of means is available to reduce CO2 emissions in a far more cost-effective way to the benefit of equally the environment and the economy.”
The Commission has formulated arbitrary targets, not sustained by a valid assessment of all facts and consequences involved. Putting the burden mainly on the car industry is the most expensive and least cost-effective method possible. It will lead to a loss of jobs and the relocation of production outside the EU, severely affecting several European regions. “Reality will not just go away by denouncing it”, says Marchionne. “This is not the time for an ideological debate. The automotive sector forms the backbone of the European manufacturing industry, with thousands of smaller companies depending on a dozen major players. At least 12 million EU workers and their families count on a balanced policy on CO2 emissions from cars. The car industry does not want to be part of an experiment. If left unchanged, the Commission proposal would erode the economic strength of Europe.”
The European automobile manufacturers are fully ready to engage in a constructive dialogue with EU legislators about making further progress in reducing CO2 emissions. The industry shares public concern about global warming and is contributing conscientiously to tackling this global problem. Following the 1998 agreement to decrease CO2 emissions from passenger cars, continuous improvements in vehicle technology have resulted in an important 13% CO2 emission reduction and helped significantly to the EU strategy to meet its Kyoto goals. This achievement has been made in spite of a trend towards consumer demand for larger cars and despite EU regulations, which have made cars heavier. The car industry demands a full evaluation of the current agreement as stipulated in the 1998 Commitment. Any future measures or policies cannot be designed without a transparent and thorough assessment of their impact on both the environment and the European economy.
Further progress in reducing CO2 emissions from passenger cars can and should be made through an integrated, cost-effective approach, combining on-going technological innovations from the car industry with the efforts from policy makers, consumers and the fuel industry. This will result in cost-effective CO2 reductions, safeguarding employment and the competitiveness of the European automotive industry. An important element of such an Integrated Approach is a harmonised effort to increase demand for fuel-efficiency through CO2-related taxation of cars and of alternative fuels.
The Commission’s communication on CARS 21, which has separately been published today, does not fully incorporate the recommendations of the High-level Group CARS 21 of December 2005. This group, which included the Commissioners Dimas, Verheugen and Barrot, six national Ministers, five car industry CEOs, MEPs and representatives of consumer groups, explicitly called for “better regulation” and following an Integrated Approach to important policy fields such as road safety and CO2 emissions. CARS 21 dealt with balancing economic and environmental issues in a cost-effective and sustainable way. “It was an example of coherent and responsible industrial policy”, says Marchionne. “We ask EU legislators to cherish the positive contributions of CARS 21.”
Traffic of passenger cars accounts for 11% of CO2 emissions in the EU. Globally, passenger car traffic emits 5% of all man made CO2. The European share of this is 1,5%, thanks to advanced European technology.
ACEA represents the thirteen major European vehicle manufacturers. At the heart of the European industry, the automotive sector is the leading employer in manufacturing in the EU. The car industry provides increasingly high-skilled jobs to 2 million Europeans and indirectly supports another 10 million employees in related industries. Europe is the world’s largest vehicle producer. Of the 46 million passenger cars produced globally, 38% are manufactured in the EU. The ACEA members yearly invest 5% of turnover (EUR 20 billion) in R&D. Members are: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, DaimlerChrysler, FIAT, Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, Porsche, PSA Peugeot CitroÃ«n, Renault, Scania, Volkswagen and Volvo.