French cars closest to EU CO2 targets

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French car manufacturers are the closest in achieving proposed European Union targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

26 August 2008

BRUSSELS -- French car manufacturers are the closest to achieving proposed European Union targets for reducing their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, while Japanese makers are the furthest away, a study by a Brussels pressure group released Tuesday said.

Neither group made substantial cuts in their new cars' emissions in 2007, leaving it open to question whether they would hit their targets, the study commissioned by Brussels-based environmental group Transport and Environment (T&E) said.

Under laws proposed by European Commission, and currently under debate, every car manufacturer which sells large numbers of vehicles in Europe should be given a target for the average amount of CO2 its new cars can emit from 2012.

The proposed targets are calculated according to the average weight of car each company sells. Fiat and Suzuki have an estimated target of 122 grams per kilometre (g/km) while luxury manufacturers BMW and Daimler aim for 137 g/km based on current car weights.

According to T&E's study, based on official EU data, the Peugeot- Citroen group is closest to its target and will need to reduce average new car emissions by 10 percent in the next five years. Renault faces a 13-percent cut in car emissions, Fiat needs to cut by 14 percent and Toyota needs to reduce by 15 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum, Suzuki have to make hefty 25 percent cuts in its average car emissions, Daimler and Mazda will have to make 24-percent cuts and Nissan will have to cut by 22 percent, the study said.

"It is striking that three of the bottom four carmakers are Japanese ... All three did not close the gap sufficiently in 2007 and will have to speed up their efforts," it said.
Mazda cut its average emissions by 1.4 percent in 2007, Suzuki cut by just 0.8 percent and Honda actually boosted them by 1.1 percent - leaving the trio requiring a major effort if they are to hit EU targets.

While French carmakers are closer to their targets, they are making slow progress: Peugeot-Citroen cut emissions by 0.9 percent in 2007, while Renault managed just 0.5 percent. Both groups will have to step up their efforts in order to hit the target.

Germany's BMW made the largest cut of any major manufacturer, reducing emissions by 7.3 percent, but its current target leaves it facing a 19-percent cut before 2012. Daimler and Volkswagen made smaller cuts in 2007 and fall short of their targets.

[dpa / Expatica]
[Photo credit: Alex C Jones]

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