Proposal To Mandate Car Recycling Worries Automakers

Europe's leading carmakers, including offshoots of the big U.S. manufacturers, are up in arms against an order from the 15-nation European Union (EU) that will force them to accept and recycle aging cars at their own expense. In its first stage it would apply to cars sold in the EU starting in 2001. But from 2006 on, the new rules would apply to all the 160 million cars on Europe's roads regardless of the date of manufacture. The European Automobile Manufacturers' Assn. (ACEA), whose members include Ford, DaimlerChrysler, and General Motors, says the retrospective nature of the order could bankrupt vehicle producers. All 15 EU countries have O.K.'d the law, but it still has to be endorsed by the European Parliament. ACEA reckons the cost of recycling at an average of US$150 per vehicle. Ford, which earlier this year acquired its first recycling plant in the U.S., says it is anxious to know how and where the European cars will be disassembled. Nick Scheele, president of Ford of Europe, said: "The cost of recycling old cars could be reflected in the cost of new ones. It imposes burdens which today's consumers will pay for."

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