While the motor industry accepts that it has an important part to play in the climate change debate, it has grave concerns over the impact of proposals made today by the EU Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas. For more than a decade, car makers have voluntarily made significant progress in reducing CO2 emissions from their vehicles, but this proposed legislation is likely to result in less choice for the motorist and higher prices on the dealer forecourt.
‘The industry is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products and we have proven that we are doing our bit by hitting interim targets of our voluntary agreement. We have also already produced and brought to market cars that can meet the 120g/km limit – the problem is that motorists do not buy them!’ said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.
‘We recognise the importance that cars play in climate change but everybody has a role to play in reducing CO2 emissions. It is important to put this in context and if the Commission is intent on placing the onus onto car manufacturers, then we see serious difficulties ahead. There is a huge threat to employment and the economy. Not only will the choice of cars be reduced by these measures if we are to meet the limits, but independent estimates place a projected increase in the region of £2500 to the sale price of each new car.’
The motor industry is a world leader in many fields of expertise, based on a long tradition of innovation and fulfilling consumer demand. Preserving the environment is always a key consideration for car manufacturers and the technological solutions are available, but at a cost. New markets and jobs are only created when there is clear demand and an economic basis to back this development.
Car makers believe that a concerted drive by all the stakeholders – Government, oil companies, suppliers and motorists – would not only be the quickest and most effective solution to reducing CO2 but also the cheapest. The motor industry has shown its willingness and capability to produce technological solutions. What is now required is an integrated approach from all stakeholders to work towards these important aims of the Commission, without causing a negative impact on consumer choice and the economy.