Auto industry criticizes tough CO2 emissions limit for 2020
European Commission says 95 g/km target is 'achievable, economically sound'
Auto industry lobbyists criticized proposals published today for tougher CO2 limits on new cars and vans sold in Europe.
The European Commission said it will seek binding targets to cut average CO2 emissions from new cars to 95 grams per kilometer in 2020. Emissions from vans will be reduced to 147g/km.
"These are tough targets -- the toughest in the world," Ivan Hodac, secretary general of the European automakers association ACEA, said in a statement. "This will increase manufacturing costs in Europe, creating a competitive disadvantage for the region."
The 95g/km for cars is equivalent to fuel use of 3.9 liters of gasoline per 100 km (60 U.S. mpg) and 3.4 liters of diesel per 100 km (69 U.S. mpg).
Automakers are on track to reach a mandatory target of 130g/km for cars in 2015. Companies that fail to meet their individual goals face stiff fines.
The Commission expects its latest measures will save buyers of new cars in 2020 about 340 euros in fuel costs in the first year of ownership and between 2,904 euros and 3,836 euros over the a car's 13-year lifetime.
"The Commission's analysis shows that the 2020 targets are achievable, economically sound and cost effective: the technology is readily available, its cost is substantially lower than previously thought and its implementation should boost employment and GDP and benefit consumers and industry," an EU statement said.
ACEA said tougher CO2 limits are wrong when the current outlook for the auto industry in Europe is bleak and vehicle sales have declined for the past five years.
"Considering that most manufacturers are losing money in Europe at the moment, the industry needs as competitive a framework as possible. Targets must be feasible," Hodac said.
It is unclear how much of the additional manufacturing cost of meeting the target can be passed on to customers in the current climate without depressing car sales further. Campaigners have estimated the per-car cost at about 1,000 euros.
The proposal must now go through a long negotiation process between EU governments and the European Parliament before it can become law.
Lobbying is likely to continue. So far, it has focused on technical details that determine how much of the burden the makers of big, heavy cars, versus lighter vehicles, will carry to achieve the 95 g/km average.
The proposed target has split the industry. France's Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, which sell mostly smaller cars, are less worried than German automakers, especially BMW and Daimler, which sell bigger, more powerful cars that use more fuel.
Philippe Doublet, a vice-president at Renault, said there would be an additional manufacturing cost, but told a Brussels meeting on Tuesday that the 95 g/km limit for cars was achievable.
EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that under the current proposal all manufacturers would have to make the same relative effort to achieve the average of 95 g/km across the EU fleet.
Hedegaard said that the commission would start work on targets for after 2020, which could involve introducing new methodology. A commission position paper is expected this year.
Reuters contributed to this story
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