Auto industry sets record straight on emissions, as it reaffirms long-term environmental commitment

Brussels, 4 December 2015 – The CEOs represented in the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) today re-confirmed the industry’s commitment to further reducing the environmental footprint of its vehicles and manufacturing. Europe’s automobile manufacturers also highlighted their long-standing support for the development of a new test to measure pollutant emissions under real driving conditions (RDE).

Speaking to the media after an ACEA Board meeting this morning, ACEA President and Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “We are adopting this common statement in light of the COP21 climate conference, but also in an effort to address some of the recent criticisms of our industry.”

CO2 emissions from new cars have gone down by almost 34% in less than two decades. These CO2 savings have been achieved in combination with significant decreases in pollutant emissions, despite the fact that both initiatives require conflicting measures. At the same time, manufacturers have significantly reduced the environmental impact of manufacturing. For instance, total CO2 emissions from car production were cut by 27.4% over the last decade.

Mr Ghosn also clarified the industry’s position on emissions test methods: “We fully support the need for improved emissions testing.” Indeed, for many years the industry has been advocating for and collaborating on an updated laboratory test for measuring both pollutant and CO2 emissions (WLTP), as well as the additional RDE test.

In October, EU member states voted in favour of a tough compromise text on RDE, with testing standards that will be extremely difficult for automobile manufacturers to reach in a short period of time. “However, the industry urgently needs clarity so that it can plan the development and design of vehicles in line with the new requirements,” Mr Ghosn explained. “We also need the RDE test to restore the confidence of consumers and legislators in the environmental performance of new vehicles.”

Thanks to its annual 41.5 billion euros investment into R&D, the automotive industry will continue to address both climate change and air quality concerns. “This will also require a more coherent European policy framework in which ambitious climate change objectives are better reconciled with tougher air quality standards,” noted Ghosn.

To help set the record straight on a number of emissions-related issues, ACEA published a document entitled ‘Emissions testing: some common misconceptions’ today.

Notes for editors

About the EU automobile industry

  • 12.9 million Europeans work in the automotive sector
  • 8.3% of all manufacturing jobs in the EU
  • €392.2 billion in tax revenue for European governments
  • €101.9 billion trade surplus for the European Union
  • Over 7% of EU GDP generated by the auto industry
  • €59.1 billion in R&D spending annually, 31% of EU total
Content type Press release
Vehicle types All vehicles
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