BRUSSELS -- Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen have reversed their stance and now support a German bid to delay a 95 grams per kilometer limit on average CO2 emissions for new cars in the EU, government officials and diplomats said.
Backed by German automakers, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government aims to water down a deal agreed in June to cut average new-car emissions to 95g/km by 2020 from 130/g/km now. The 95g/km target is equivalent to fuel use of 4 liters per 100km (59 U.S. mpg/71 UK mpg).
Berlin wants to introduce a four-year phase-in period under a proposal circulated by German diplomats.
Germany has so far been unable to secure support from a blocking minority of governments to dilute the new rules, ahead of a vote scheduled later this week. But Renault and PSA have broken ranks with the French government to side with Germany's Daimler, BMW and General Motors' Opel division.
"We became aware of this common industry position last week," a French ministry official said. Germany is expected to use it to press the new demands, an EU official said on Friday.
Renault and PSA have previously said they stand to gain competitive advantage from new CO2 limits, thanks to the smaller-than-average size and fuel consumption of the cars they sell. But the French carmakers have come under pressure from their respective alliance partners to adopt a common stance on CO2.