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Most carmakers fail to meet EU emissions targets

Date: 07 November 2006   |   Author: Guy Bird

Car manufacturers ranked by CO2 reduction

Fifteen out of the top 20 car brands are failing to cut their carbon dioxide emissions quickly enough to meet a key EU climate target of, on average, 140g/km a car by 2008/09, according to a new independent report.

The study, commissioned by the green campaign group Transport & Environment and carried out by the Institute for European Environmental Policy, ranked car brands with 150,000 or more annual European sales, on how close they were by the end of 2005 to their voluntary CO2 g/km reduction targets for 2008/09 - set with the EU back in 1998. The rumour that carmakers were not on track in terms of CO2 reduction was well-known already in industry circles, but these published figures (the EU agreed with the makers not to publish by individual firm) confirm those fears.

Nissan props up the table having cut its CO2 on average by only 5g/km - or only 20% of its target 26g/km reduction. Suzuki, Mazda, Audi, Volvo, BMW and VW fill the rest of the bottom seven places, all having met less than half their pledged reductions.

Fiat tops the league table having already achieved a 139g/km average (and 140% of its target reduction of 30g/km by 2005) and Citroen, Renault, Ford and Peugeot all look on course to hit the 140g/km commitment by 2008.

Response from the featured carmakers has been mixed. The only official statement so far from Nissan (ranked 20th) is that "its technical departments in Japan and Brussels are looking into the findings". Toyota - ranked seventh and still 23g/km off the 2008 target with 163g/km - is a little more upbeat. A spokesman told BusinessCar: "It's a challenging target, we admit, but one we're totally committed to by 2009."

2009 is the year Japanese and Korean carmakers have pledged to meet the 140g/km figure, one year later than their European rivals.

T&E's clean cars programme manager, Aat Peterse, said: "Renault's on track while VW is way off even though Renault started with higher emissions in 1997. Clearly the target is achievable, but as long as 75% of makers go unpunished for their failure, we'll never make the necessary progress. Europe must kiss voluntary targets goodbye and waste no more time coming up with legally binding measures to double fuel efficiency in the next decade. Individual makers must be held responsible and punished if they fail."

One of the suggestions in the recent EU report Action Plan for Energy Efficiency promises to do just that, with legislation that could be in place as early as 2007.