The Truth About Cars » european union The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:03:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » european union European Automakers Face Challenge From New Emissions, Fuel Economy Tests Tue, 17 Jun 2014 13:00:01 +0000 Renault Zoe EV With Charging Station

Already facing financial challenges under a weak home economy, European automakers may soon have a new challenge to add to the list when the European Union adopts a more accurate method of testing CO2 emissions and fuel economy among their lineups, with EVs becoming the biggest beneficiaries as a result.

Automotive News Europe reports the EU will do away with the New European Drive Cycle test in 2017, adopting the United Nations’ World Light Vehicle Test Procedure for its higher accuracy than the outgoing testing method. Automakers want the WLTP delayed until 2020, citing cost increases for the reason; French bank Exane BNP Paribas estimates automakers would add €1000 ($1,356 USD) per vehicle to help recoup investment costs into adapting to the new testing standards.

The new test, which is designed to better accurately account for modern driving conditions, would push past the NEDC’s 2021 mandate of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer by as much as 20 percent, NOx emissions also boosted among diesel offerings under the WLTP. Exane analyst Stuart Pearson noted the increased reduction goal would reflect in the industry’s bottom line:

Should the new test cycle lead to emissions say 20 percent above that on NEDC, then assuming a 30 euro per gram cost of CO2 technology, the incremental cost for the EU industry would be around 11 billion euros.

Automakers with margins below that needed to meet compliance — including Fiat, Renault and Peugeot — will struggle more than the well-off German manufacturers, while suppliers who provide parts needed to boost fuel efficiency will be the biggest winners. The standards could also boost sales of hybrids and EVs, while diesels slide in kind.

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French Court Overturns Sales Ban Of Daimler Vehicles Using R134a Tue, 06 May 2014 12:00:17 +0000 aclass

France’s Conseil d’Etat announced Monday that it has overturned the government’s ban of a handful of Mercedes-Benz vehicles over parent company Daimler’s refusal to cease usage of R134a coolant currently under phase-out by the European Union.

Reuters reports the ban — issued by France’s ecology minister Ségolène Royal — was overturned after the court found her order unjustified, stating the vehicles affected did not show “a serious threat to the environment.”

Though vehicles sold in the EU were mandated to use R1234yf beginning in 2013, Daimler cited potential, unacceptable safety issues with the new coolant. Instead, the automaker continued to use R134a in its A-Class, B-Class, CLA and SL models, which were the vehicles banned from being sold in France. Daimler plans to replace the outgoing coolant with CO2 systems by 2017.

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European Automakers Claimed To Use Testing Loopholes In Emissions Compliance Thu, 01 May 2014 13:00:53 +0000 2014 Mercedes CLA

Though the European Environment Agency proclaimed new cars sold throughout the European Union in 2013 as being 4 percent cleaner than those sold in 2012, an environmentalist group says testing loopholes are the cause behind the results.

Reuters reports Transport and Environment are urging the European Commission to quickly introduce new testing procedures for ensuring automakers are actually meeting the 2021 mandate of 95 grams per kilometer of CO2, the toughest known emissions-control mandate issued in the world. The Commission claim the 2013 results of 127 g/km — made ahead of the 2015 mandate of 130 g/km — were the result of European automakers using loopholes — including grippy tires and test-facility grade smooth roads — to make the grade thus far.

T&E clean vehicles manager Greg Archer said the current tests for compliance were “obsolete” due to ease of manipulation, driving home the point that the 2021 mandate was “Europe’s single most effective policy to drive down CO2 emissions.”

As for the results themselves, the EEA state their findings as provisional, as inspectors have yet to survey individual automakers to determine if the latter party had met their individual goals for compliance.

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UK Diesels 21 Percent Cleaner Than A Decade Ago Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:30:13 +0000 Peugeot_3008_HYbrid4_header

A study issued earlier this month by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has concluded that modern diesel engines in the United Kingdom are 21 percent cleaner than that were a decade earlier.

Hybrid Cars reports the group’s New Car CO2 Report also found modern diesels to be 27 percent more economical than in 2003, greatly aided by technologies — including stop-start and common-rail systems — in reducing emissions and running costs.

Average UK vehicle CO2 output fell 29.1 percent over the past 14 years to just 128.3g/km, achieving the 130g/km target set by the European Union for 2015.

For their part, Bosch — one of the manufacturers at the forefront of advancing diesel technology — says it will continue to move diesels forward in the march toward further cleanliness and efficiency, going so far as to include hybrids — such as the Bosch-augmented Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 — in order to meet the 2020 standard of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.


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Coolant In Daimler-EU Dispute Found Safe Tue, 11 Mar 2014 14:32:50 +0000 Automotive Refrigerants

An automotive coolant Daimler claims is too dangerous to use in their vehicles, despite the warnings from the European Union to cease usage of an older coolant considered harmful to the environment, was found to be safe according to a report made by EU scientists.

Reuters reports the coolant in question, the Honeywell and DuPont co-developed R1234yf, posed “no evidence of a serious risk in the use of [the] refrigerant in mobile air-conditioning systems under normal and foreseeable conditions of use” as reported by the Joint Research Council in their findings last week.

Daimler, who claimed the coolant emits a toxic gas when burned, defended their position against using R1234yf, claiming the research “too restrictive,” preferring an option to develop a system using carbon dioxide as the cooling method, though said system is years in the making.

Meanwhile, the automaker uses R134a, an older coolant that the European Commission has found to have a global warming potential 1,000 times that of carbon dioxide while developing an air-conditioning system; EU rules state new coolants must have no more than 150 times said potential. As a result, the Commission has begun legal proceedings against Germany over Daimler’s current action on the matter.

R1234yf is currently 500,000 cars according to Honeywell, who expects the coolant will be in more than 2 million units by the end of 2014.

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PSA-Dongfeng Deal Backed By EU, Skepticism Remains Fri, 21 Feb 2014 17:00:40 +0000 Dongfeng Peugeot 308

The PSA Peugeot Citroen-Dongfeng-French government deal agreed upon by the three parties earlier this week received initial backing from the European Union, though skepticism remains as to whether the deal will bring stability to the ailing French automaker.

Bloomberg and Automotive News Europe report French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici received a letter of initial backing from European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, confirming the 3 billion-euro deal met “at first glance” European Union rules related to state aid. The EU also approved an earlier 7 billion-euro guarantee to help Peugeot made by the French government via new bonds issued by Banque PSA Finance, which are set to expire next year.

Fellow Minister of Industrial Renewal Arnaud Monteburg, in an interview with France Inter this week, said the deal allows Dongfeng and PSA to use their complimentary strengths in building their respective brands, defending the French government’s decision to sign based on “economic and industrial patriotism”:

PSA is a company with the technology, the marques, but has not been able to grow in Asia, while Dongfeng doesn’t have the technology or the marques, but has the growth in Asia.

Analysts and observers close to the matter remain skeptical of the deal, especially as to whether it would ultimately stabilize Peugeot. GERPISA director Bernard Jullien told French newspaper Les Echos the deal has no precedent, and comes with the potential for instability down the road. Meanwhile, Financial Times voiced a similar concern over how incoming PSA CEO Carlos Tavares will be able to execute his reform plan with a board consisting of Dongfeng, the French government and the already divided Peugeot family.

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EU Secretly Planning To Add Police-Controlled Kill Switch To All Cars By 2020 Mon, 03 Feb 2014 10:30:24 +0000 2007: "The Managing Director of Ferrari in Great Britain, Massimo Fedeli, boasted “our 60th anniversary tour is the perfect opportunity to provide this special 612 Scaglietti HGTS for the police service of England, Ireland and Wales to drive. This reinforces Ferrari’s commitment to responsible driving and promoting road safety.” (courtesy

The British Newspaper The Telegraph is reporting that, if senior European law enforcement officials have their way, all cars entering the European market may soon be fitted with a remote shutdown device that would allow police officers to electronically deactivate any vehicle at the touch of a button.

According to the article, which appeared in the paper’s January 29 edition, the program came to light after confidential documents from the European Network of Law Enforcement Technologies listing the development of a remote shutdown device as a “key objective” were obtained by an organization that monitors police powers, state surveillance and civil liberties in the EU. The report goes on to say that the secret papers justify the program by citing the need to protect the public from dangerous high speed chases and that the technology would put an end to the practice of spiking a car’s tires in order to end a chase. The documents, The Telegraph says, spell out a six year development plan.

Similar car stopping technology is already available on some vehicles in the United States via systems like On Star but, unlike what is being proposed in Europe, as of this writing remote shut-down on this side of the Atlantic is offered only to a car’s owner and can only be activated at their request. Still, once the technology is fully developed and mandated in Europe, chances are good that it will find its way to the United States and, given the way that most cars currently bundle their technology, it will probable be impossible to remove.

The application of this technology could change the way law enforcement works. More than simply putting an end to high speed chases, the system could conceivably be used in situations similar to the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings and allow the police to shut down every car in the immediate vicinity of a fleeing suspect to prevent them from seizing control of other vehicles. Paired with systems like GPS, it could also be used to stop cars from entering disaster zones or other restricted areas and, taken to its extreme, the technology could even incorporate additional features like remote door locks that could be activated in order to contain suspects inside of a disabled vehicle until law enforcement arrives to make the arrest.

This then, is more than our cars being used to track our movements or using our on-board technology to report us when we exceed the speed limit, this is our cars being actively taken out of our control and possibly even used to imprison us against our wills should some law enforcement officer watching our actions via a camera from the safety of a computer console in a secure room believe that we are a threat to public safety. Like so many other innovations, I see the real public benefit of this system if it is used correctly, but I also fear the potential for mayhem if it is misapplied. It will be interesting to watch the debate now that the development of this system has gone public.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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European Auto Market Begins Climb Out Of Six-Year Descent Wed, 29 Jan 2014 16:30:48 +0000 2014 Ford Transit Nugget

After six consecutive years of falling auto sales, the European automotive industry group ACEA predicts a 2 percent increase for 2014 as demand slowly works its way out of the wilderness, according to a report by Automotive News.

At a press conference in ACEA’s headquarters in Brussels, president Philippe Varin said that though sales won’t return to pre-Great Recession levels any time soon, he believes 2014 will “herald a transition toward a recovery” based upon December 2013 delivery gains signalling a U-turn toward the light.

Overall European sales in 2013 fell 1.8 percent to 12.3 million units, the lowest figure noted since 1995. Within the European Union, 11.8 million units were delivered in the same period; Varin, who is also CEO of PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, predicts the EU figure will climb “just above” 12 million in 2014.

Though automakers, such as Ford and Renault, are also predicting a gradual revival in sales — hinging on the economic activity of France, Spain and Italy in the coming year — the Blue Oval, PSA and General Motors are shuttering factories and scaling back their workforces in Europe in response to the market decline.

To remedy the issue, Varin believes authorities in the European market should do all they can to help bolster the coming recovery, including increased flexibility in labor and the use of EU social funds to help automakers reorganize.

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Hyundai, Kia See Weakest Annual Sales Growth in a Decade Thu, 02 Jan 2014 16:59:53 +0000 kia-k900-la-auto-show-14

2014 may only be a day old, but it’s already shaping up to be a rough year for Hyundai and Kia as they prepare to increase global sales by just 4 percent this year, the lowest and bleakest forecast for the Korean duo since 2003.

Though the foreseen growth will be fueled by revamped models and increased production in China, and is in line with overall projected global sales in 2014, a stronger won and weaker yen — the latter brought about by Japan’s desire to support its export industry and to find a way out of the 20-year trek through the economic wilderness — have eroded the price advantage Hyundai and Kia held over their Japanese competitors.

While the duo experienced market growth in Brazil and China last year, they lost market share in both their home market and in the United States, the former through a free trade pact between the European Union and South Korea. Sales in 2013 totaled 7.56 million units worldwide, with a total projection of 7.86 million going forward in 2014.

Shares of the parent automaker haven’t fared well in the outgoing year, advancing only 8 percent against GM’s 41 percent and Toyota’s 60 percent surges on the trading floor.

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Canadian Auto Workers More Cost Effective Than U.S. Workers, Study Says Thu, 14 Nov 2013 14:23:49 +0000 Canadian Autoworker

The land of Canadian Tire, Tim Hortons and Michelle Creber has yet another thing going for it: Their auto workers have a cost advantage over their two-tiered brothers and sisters down south according to a study from Toronto, Ontario-based Scotiabank.

In the report, Scotiabank chief economist Carlos Gomes explains that, as a result of the recent Unifor contract, new hires to Canadian assembly plants are more cost effective than those brought on board in United States-based facilities. The price tag? $37 for a U.S. new hire versus around $30 (in USD) for a Canadian new hire.

Furthermore, while someone screwing together a Camaro will reach parity with older workers in 10 years’ time, a new hire building Escapes will remain below senior workers for the entirety of their career. A weaker Canadian dollar, pegged at 96 cents USD as of this writing, also adds to the Great White North’s competitive streak.

With the threat of overcapacity and bottlenecks looming over the North American auto industry, along with increased demand from global markets, automakers are looking at what they can do to keep the machine running. For Ford, it means a $700 million investment in the retooling of its Oakville plant to build crossovers for export markets, while for General Motors, it means delaying the shutdown of their Oshawa plant until sometime in 2016. And of course, according to Gomes, Canada can begin to diversify its automotive exports beyond the NAFTA zone, a result of signing a free trade agreement with the European Union.

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Canada To End Duties On Imported Vehicles From The EU, Will Recognize EU Standards Fri, 18 Oct 2013 14:02:06 +0000 bmw-3-series-wagon-450x275

As part of a new free trade agreement due to be signed with the European Union, Canada will remove its 6.1 percent tariff on imported vehicles from the European Union, while the EU will remove its 10 percent duties on autos and and its 4.5 percent duty on parts.

According to The Globe and Mail, Canada will have a quota of 100,000 vehicles that can be imported, provided they are made with 20 percent Canadian parts. Vehicle with 50 percent or higher Canadian parts content will be exempt from the quota and can enter duty free. Currently, Canada only exports 13,000 vehicles to the EU, with the Eurozone exporting substantially more to Canada. If anything, the deal will result in cheaper luxury cars for Canadians, rather than a sudden rise in vehicle exports from Canada to the EU.

EDIT: Mark Stevenson at is also reporting that, according to a European Commission statement

Canada will recognise a list of EU car standards and will examine the recognition of further standards. This will make it much easier to export cars to Canada.

I wouldn’t be holding my breath for all kinds of Euro hot hatches and diesel wagons just yet. BUT if someone like Volkswagen wanted to import the Polo (a car that would do very well in Canada, according to VW Canada sources who have done market studies), the once prohibitively high costs of homologating the car might be reduced, or even eliminated.

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Germany Lobbies EU To Slow Implementation of CO2 Limits Mon, 07 Oct 2013 15:20:00 +0000 chart_EU2020_CO2slopes

After lobbying by Germany, the governments of the European Union have for the third time delayed implementation of carbon dioxide emissions targets for Europe’s new cars. The proposed limits would have been reduced CO2 emissions from new cars to 95 grams per kilometer.

At a meeting of EU states, Germany’s request to delay a vote on the new limits was supported by Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government in Germany would like to increase the 2020 targeted limits from the previously agreed upon 95g/km the equivalent of 59 U.S. mpg.  Right now regulations permit as much as 130g/km.

Germany’s auto industry would like a longer phase in period, allowing automakers until 2024 for full implementation of the standard. Greg Archer,  of Transport & Environment, an environmental advocacy group, said  in a statement that Germany’s maneuvering was intended to give Mercedes-Benz and BMW a competitive advantage. The issue will be deferred to an EU vote later this month.

EU sources last month said that French automakers, Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, now support the gradual phase in, having reversed their previous position under pressure from their German partners. While the French companies would have a competitive advantage under the new rules because they sell smaller cars than the German luxury marques, they are also tied to the German car makes. Renault has an industrial alliance with Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, and BMW is developing engines with PSA.

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European Commission Plans to Mandate 70 MPH Speed Limiters in EU. UK Government Calls it “Big Brother” Mon, 02 Sep 2013 13:00:54 +0000  

Daily Mail Illustration

While Americans have an image of Europe as the place of autobahns with unlimited speeds, if a new proposal by the European Commission’s Mobility and Transport Department is approved, all cars on the continent could be fitted with devices that limit top speed to 70 miles per hour. Cars would possibly be equipped with cameras that would read speed limit signs on roads and apply the brakes if the legal limit is exceeded. The goal is to reduce the 30,000 annual traffic deaths in Europe by a third. The regulations would not just apply to new cars sold in Europe. Used cars would have to be retrofitted.


The British government told the Daily Mail that it was opposed to the proposed regulations. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is described as having “erupted” at the news and said the move would violate motorists’ freedom. A source within the government said concerning McLoughlin’s instructions to the UK’s representatives in Brussels, “This has Big Brother written all over it and is exactly the sort of thing that gets people’s backs up about Brussels. The Commission wanted his views ahead of plans to publish the proposals this autumn. He made it very clear what those views were.”

The proposed regulation goes by the acronym ISA, for Intelligent Speed Adaptation and it could be implemented using GPS data or the above mentioned cameras. Two less extreme options to automatically slowing the car would be posting a dashboard warning to the driver, and allowing the driver to disable automatic speed limiting.  An EU spokesman said, “There is a currently consultation focusing on speed-limiting technology already fitted to HGVs and buses. Taking account of the results, the Commission will publish in the autumn a document by its technical experts which will no doubt refer to ISA among many other things.”

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French Court Allows Sale of R134a Equipped Mercedes Benzes, Daimler to Move to Carbon Dioxide Refrigerant Wed, 28 Aug 2013 16:37:26 +0000 000

In the continuing saga of Daimler, the EU and banned refrigerants, the German automaker won a provisional ruling from France’s highest administrative judicial body to overturn the suspension of the sale of Mercedes-Benz models equipped with R134a refrigerant in those cars’ air conditioning systems. European Union regulators have banned R134a but Daimler claims that the replacement, R1234yf, can create fire and toxicity safety issues. The French Council of State said that authorities in that country must resume registrations of those Mercedes-Benz models while the case goes on.

According to Bloomberg, the court in Paris ruled that there is “serious doubt” about the immediate environmental threat upon which the French government was basing the sales ban. The French Ministry of Ecology, Development and Energy had blocked new registrations of the models in July, citing EU environmental rules, while Daimler insisted that since the models were type-approved by the German Federal Motor Vehicle Office, or KBA, they can be registered anywhere in the EU.

The models affected are the SL roadster, the CLA four doors, and A-class and B-class compacts and French sales of those vehicles make up about 2% of Daimler’s global revenue. “We expect the French authorities to start registering our vehicles within the next 48 hours,” Daimler said in a statement.

Eventually, a Daimler spokesman said the company will be switching all of its air conditioning systems to the use of carbon dioxide as a refrigerant by 2017, which it says is “the most climate-friendly and safest solution.”

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Daimler Appeases EU Over Refrigerant. Zetsche Declares “S-Class For Our Time” Fri, 08 Mar 2013 11:00:11 +0000

Daimler and Volkswagen reached an agreement over an air-conditioning refrigerant that Daimler claimed was flammable and extremely hazardous to one’s health.

Reuters reports that Daimler, together with Audi, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen, will develop a “completely new A/C system that employs non-flammable carbon dioxide as an alternative to the new, flammable HFO-1234yf refrigerant.”

The current R134a used in virtually every A/C system will be banned in 2017, and HFO-1234yf had been tabled as the replacement substance. HFO-1234yf  is said to be more climate friendly despite the numerous health risks claimed by Daimler, including risks of fire and toxic gases that occur during combustion. But its maker, Honeywell, claims that Daimler is just looking to save money by not using the more expensive HFO-1234yf.

The EU mandate to use HFO-1234yf is still on the books. Daimler R&D chief Thomas Weber told Reuters during the Geneva auto show that Daimler would be prepared to pay the EU compensation for violating the directive, although he stopped short of calling it a “fine.”


Today, Volkswagen announced

“its entry into CO2 technology, which will be rolled out progressively over its entire vehicle fleet.

Entry into CO2 technology will further contribute towards climate protection. CO2 (carbon dioxide) as a refrigerant – also known as R744 – is a naturally occurring gas with significantly lower greenhouse gas effects than conventional refrigerants, and it is ideal for use in specially designed automotive air conditioning systems. With a GWP (Global Warming Potential) value of 1, it is 99.3 per cent below the EU specified GWP limit of 150. “

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European Union Creates International Speeding Ticket Sat, 14 Nov 2009 18:07:25 +0000 (courtesy

Speeding tickets are beginning to cross international borders in Europe, thanks to the European car and driving license information system, or EUCARIS. At the beginning of the year, Swiss motorists began being charged for speed camera tickets issued by French authorities. As of October, the French government had collected on a total of 10,000 citations from violations allegedly committed by vehicles registered in Switzerland. A total of 1800 tickets were issued last month alone.

Prior to EUCARIS, most countries had no means of collecting on automated tickets issued to non-citizens because there was no automated system that could identify vehicle registrations in a foreign country. Beginning in 1994, a number of authorities upset by losing millions in potential revenue created the drive to standardize the sharing of electronic vehicle and driver’s license records among the disparate database systems in twenty countries.

Progress in connecting these databases has been slow. Only last year did The Netherlands and Germany become the first to swap speed camera ticketing information. Cross-border tickets will also be issued in Belgium as part of a bilateral information exchange program.

Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom have all signed the EUCARIS treaty with the rest of the European Union countries expected on board by August 2011. Once fully connected, officials hope to be able to issue fully international speeding tickets and introduce further uses, such as the collection of per-mile taxes.


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