BRUSSELS - European carmakers want common legislative rules and standards around the globe and are urging the European Commission to find a way to include US regulations.
Bernd Pischetsrieder, chairman of BMW and the new head of ACEA, said different standards increase development costs and add 'burdensome administrative constraints.'
Pischetsrieder spoke to regulators, politicians and auto executives in his first speech as president of the European manufacturers association.
The job rotates annually. Pischetsrieder took over from Louis Schweitzer, chairman of Renault.
He called for immediate harmonization of new safety standards emerging in the USA and Europe.
Pischetsrieder also said that ACEA is committed to a voluntary pact with the European Commission to reduce CO2 emissions.
He said ACEA's automaker members will agree only to reductions that take into account 'technological prospects, customers' demands for affordable cars and our capacity to compete in Third World markets.'
Reductions in CO2 must not be made at the cost of safety or building cars that can't be sold, Pischetsrieder said.
He said that European carmakers also don't want US-style corporate average fuel economy regulations. In the USA, only German makers have been paying penalties for violating the fuel economy standards.
'My intention in Europe is to achieve CO2 reductions without giving our American friends an unfair competitive advantage,' said Pischetsrieder.
He said ACEA will not seek an extension of quotas on imported Japanese cars after 1999. Earlier, the French automakers had lobbied for an extension, claiming the Japanese violated the pact on a technicality.
Pischetsrieder warned European regulators and politicians that a recent decision removing automakers' design protection on most parts will help the cheaper eastern European and Asian automakers more than partsmakers.
'It is not in the interest of Europe to promote copiers in other parts of the world,' he said.
Pischetsrieder threw his support behind European monetary union. He said it will help eliminate market distortions and enable Europe to better cope with fluctuations in the US dollar and Japanese yen.
But he said the Euro won't eliminate price differences where they are caused by radically different national tax schemes.