BRUSSELS - EU legislators are not doing enough to help carmakers achieve tougher safety and environmental standards, according to Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech.
Piech takes over this month as the head of ACEA, the European automakers' association, succeeding BMW Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder. He will serve a one-year term.
In his first speech as ACEA president, Piech told EU legislators and bureaucrats that automakers make a substantial contribution to Europe's economy. He also reminded listeners of automakers' contribution to environmental improvements, citing the industry's voluntary agreement to limit CO2 emissions last year.
'However, complementary action by the EU and its member states is necessary,' he said. 'European legislators bear a particular responsibility.'
He said laws and regulations are often passed in isolation, placing 'contradictory demands' on the industry.
'Genuine relationships on issues like reduction of CO2 and other emissions and requirements relating to active and passive safety are not sufficiently taken into consideration by legislators - either in practical terms or in timing.'
Piech urged the European Commission to swiftly conclude negotiations with Japanese and Korean carmakers on reduction of CO2 emissions for imported cars. ACEA wants the EC to set the same CO2 limits for Asian imports as European automakers agreed to last year. ACEA's members promised to reduce their combined CO2 emissions to 140 grams per kilometer by 2008.
At the same time, Piech called on the oil industry to introduce cleaner fuels for both gasoline and diesel. On other issues, Piech said the industry accepts some responsibility for what happens to scrapped cars. Debate is ongoing about a proposed end-of-life directive that would require all old cars to be recycled. The new legislation would set percentage targets for recovery of some materials and would ban the use of certain other materials. But Piech urged regulators not to adopt recycling demands that are too stringent.
He also asked the EU to examine carmakers' research into making cars safer for pedestrians to ensure that new legislation is relevant and practical.