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EU manufacturers told to clean up cars -

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EU manufacturers told to clean up cars

AM - Thursday, 20 December , 2007 08:12:00

Reporter: Stephanie Kennedy

TONY EASTLEY: Europe's car makers have been told to clean up their vehicles and produce more
environmentally friendly cars or risk paying hefty fines.

The European Union wants car makers to meet much tougher carbon dioxide emission limits.

Stephanie Kennedy reports from London.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Passenger cars account for about 12 per cent of the EU's carbon dioxide
emissions and that figure is continually rising.

Now the European Commission is clamping down on car polluters. The EU's Environment Commissioner,
Stavros Dimas, unveiled the plan in Brussels.

STAVROS DIMAS: I believe that the package we adopted today is both environmentally credible and
consistent with the principles in the communication from February. This will send a strong signal
to the world about the determination of the European Union to take bold measures on climate change.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Car makers will have to cut average emissions of CO2 from new passenger cars
sold in the EU from about 160 grams per kilometre to an average 130 grams in 2012.

If they exceed the targets then they'll be hit with steep fines. Penalties will start at $35 per
gram of CO2 over the target level, growing to $160 in 2015.

Germany is the biggest producer of large luxury cars in the EU, and car companies and the German
Government has attacked the plan arguing it's wrong and harmful.

BMW says the proposals are "naive" steps that would distort the market in favour of smaller cars,
while Peugeot described the plans as anti-ecological, anti-social, anti-economical and

Sigrid de Vries, of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, says it's over-regulation
and it threatens jobs.

SIGRID DE VRIES: What we would like to see is a system that rewards investments in
eco-technologies, a system that finds a realistic balance between improving the environment and
safeguarding jobs and production in Europe that does not impose unprecedented penalties without any
link to the market price for carbon, which applies to other sectors, and a system that is

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Environmental groups aren't happy either. Jos Dings is head of the European
Federation for Transport and Environment. He argues the fines aren't forcing car makers to change
the way they work.

JOS DINGS: This draft law will have one monumental mistake - which is that it will propose to give
makers of heavy cars more relaxed standards than makers of light cars. And obviously that does not
encourage car makers to make their cars lighter.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Car companies warn that if they're fined for exceeding the carbon dioxide
emissions limits, then they'll have to increase the price of their products.

In London this is Stephanie Kennedy reporting for AM.