EU Automakers Reject 2012 Deadline for CO2 Cuts

Group feels 2015 is more attainable.

European automakers back an EU proposal to slash carbon dioxide emissions, but need more time and want other industries to contribute, the sector federation's president said Sept. 12.The European Automobile Manufacturers Association agreed with a European Commission plan to cut CO2 emissions to 120 grams per kilometer, but by 2015 at the earliest, ACEA president Sergio Marchionne said at the Frankfurt auto show.

Flanked by fellow European auto chiefs, Marchionne, who heads the Italian group Fiat, said the proposed deadline of 2012 was not "do-able". He said that if EU legislation were to be adopted in 2009, "a minimum of six to seven years is appropriate before it could be enforced."

The EU commission expects to have a first draft of its new emissions rules ready in the first half of 2008, but many carmakers have already blasted the plan as unworkable in a sector subject to long product development cycles. European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas and two German ministers have nontheless warned that automakers could face fines if they did not respect the EU standards.

Meanwhile, Marchionne said other European industries such as the energy and infrastructure sectors should join the battle to reduce greenhouse gases. He reiterated the ACEA stance that 120 grams was a valid target, but that it depended on "full commitment by all parties on an integrated approach" based on "parameters allocated on an equitable basis" among the carmakers.

Car analysts have said ACEA is split on the issue because Germans make a lot of big cars and would find it harder to hit the target than automakers which produce several smaller cars like Fiat and several French groups. "There is a huge perception out there that there was a difference of opinion between ourselves, the Germans, the Italians, the French. This is nonsense. The industry is absolutely united on this issue," Marchionne said.

Earlier Wednesday, German auto analyst Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer charged that the EU commission had given "no indication about how the car industry has to implement" the mooted 2012 limits. He said the EU executive needed to "come up with an economic system to give the customer and also carmakers the right signals for climate change," pointing to taxes on cars that polluted more and an existing EU carbon emissions trading scheme as possible components.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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