European Auto Execs Warn Too Stringent CO2 Regs Could Kill Local Industry

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

While hot hatches and hypercar hybrids caught the attention of everyone at the 2014 Paris Auto Show, senior executives for some of Europe’s major automakers warned all who would listen that potentially stronger greenhouse-gas regs could prove “fatal” to the European auto industry.

The Detroit Bureau reports European Union legislatures are considering issuing targets of 65 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer driven by 2025, a 30-gram drop from the target of 95 grams/km in 2021. The drop would be the equivalent of a vehicle in the United States netting 84 mpg, nearly 30 miles per gallon more than the CAFE target of 54.5 mpg set for the U.S. market at the same time as the 65-gram/km mandate would go into effect.

To make this a possibility, senior execs, like Volkswagen’s Martin Winterkorn and Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Sergio Marchionne, claim significant investments would need to be made to meet the mandate. Winterkorn specifically stated that for every gram of CO2 cut to meet the target, his company must spend €100 million ($140 million USD) “without knowing when these investments pay off.” Observers also claim that while bigger automakers can handle the investment, smaller ones would likely be crippled if not die-off in doing the same.

On the other side, critics proclaim that automakers have been obsessed with the apocalypse of their industry since the 1970s, when the first clear air bills became law. Every time, the industry has been able to meet the challenges before it, and continue to do so today with the use of turbos, direct injection and advanced transmissions.

Marchionne acknowledged those statements, but added that it would ultimately be put on the backs and wallets of the consumers who want the latest and greatest, emphasizing that it would be delusional to think otherwise.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Oct 08, 2014

    " The pollution emited by a prius over its lifecycle is pretty horrendous when you take into account energy input to build and scrap." Just like every vehicle or any other manufactured product. Anti-liberals always repeat that lie, and point out to the brownfield created by the nickel mines in Sudbury, Ontario as proof. What they fail to realize, is that those mines had already created the environmental wasteland decades before the Prius was even conceived. "In fact what are we going to do with all those toxic materials from a scrapped prius". What everyone else is doing; recycle them.

  • Noble713 Noble713 on Oct 08, 2014

    CO2 emissions from passenger vehicles seems like we are wasting resources on the wrong target to me: http://www.gizmag.com/shipping-pollution/11526/

    • See 2 previous
    • Noble713 Noble713 on Oct 08, 2014

      @Drzhivago138 "Who's to say we can't 'waste resources' on both targets?" Because resources are finite, and their efficiency should be maximized? For example, say we only have 1000 man-hours of skilled engineering labor available. It doesn't make sense to spend 900 man-hours trying to squeeze gains out of the already-efficient consumer automobiles and leave only 100 man-hours to tackle the bunker fuel problem. If we put all 1000 man-hours into shaving container ship emissions by 5% or so, we'd accomplish more. It's kinda the same reason why the military doesn't devote that much effort to inventing new bullets. The tech plateaued decades ago, what we have is "good enough", and there's more gains to be made investing in other sectors such as precision-guided munitions and drones. Caseless ammo is a comparatively low priority compared to Predators with Hellfires.

  • SilverCoupe I am generally a fan of Hyundai/Kia styling, but those wheels make it look like one would be driving on octagons that would go clunk, clunk, clunk as one drove.
  • Lorenzo Electric motors provide instant torque, that's why locomotives use diesel-electric power plants, for maximum efficiency. Save the natural gas for cooking, and build EV's with locomotive power!
  • SilverCoupe As I see more of these on the roads, I am starting to warm up to them, though yeah, they should just have been called the "Mach-e" (not to be confused with the Mercury "Marquis.")
  • SilverCoupe For better or worse, younger folk do not have an internalized understanding of history. My father's generation, who fought in WWII, would not by Japanese cars, but he did not try to stop me from buying a German car for my first vehicle purchase.
  • FreedMike If you want an EV, buy one. If you don't, don't buy one. Y'all have fun on this thread. Peace, out.
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