October 2, 2014 / 9:30 PM / 6 years ago

Carmakers urge EU regulators to be realistic with emissions limits

PARIS, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Car executives at Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) on Thursday urged European regulators not to overburden the industry with excessive emission targets, especially in times of an economic downturn.

EU nations have agreed to reduce emissions from new cars to 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre (g/km) by 2021 from around 127 g/km in 2013.

Volkswagen Group Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said he was concerned by talk of even tougher targets for the period after, before the industry had time to develop for electric cars, plug-in hybrids and other fuel-efficient technologies.

“We are working flat out to make our vehicles and plants more efficient. And we are ready for further challenging CO2 thresholds. But what I also say is: It is still too early to define the specifics,” Winterkorn told reporters on the sidelines of the Paris car show. “It would be fatal to take the third step before we have even taken the first.”

He said every additional gram of CO2 the company saves in its European fleet costs the VW group almost 100 million euros ($127 million).

Winterkorn’s comments were echoed by FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne who urged Brussels to be realistic and take the current economic environment into account.

“There is a limit to what the industry can take and I think we are at the limits now,” Marchionne said.

“There are things you don’t do in times of economic contraction: you don’t throw an additional cost on an industry that is already struggling.”

The European Commission is expected to make a policy statement on a new 2025 standard for CO2 emissions from cars later this year.

There has been talk of bringing transport, which is Europe’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions after the power sector, into the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to reduce the costs the car industry faces in meeting existing regulation as well as tackling oversupply on the carbon market.

Environmental campaigners, however, say such a move would undermine more effective policies.

Several carmakers unveiled new, more efficient models at the Paris show, including Lamborghini’s Asterion, a high-performance plug-in hybrid concept car. Volkswagen debuted a Porsche Cayenne hybrid SUV and a Passat plug-in hybrid saloon.

1 US dollar = 0.7894 euro Reporting by Agnieszka Flak and Andreas Cremer; Editing by James Dalgleish

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