CO2 targets for cars: European auto industry sets out post-2021 framework

Frankfurt, 13 September 2017 – Before the European Commission reveals its proposal on CO2 targets for cars post-2021 later this year, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) laid out the industry’s pathway to future CO2 reductions at the Frankfurt Motor Show today.

Regarding the timeframe and ambition level for the new targets, ACEA proposes a 20% CO2 reduction for passenger cars by 2030, compared to 2021. “This is a steep reduction,” stated ACEA President, Dieter Zetsche. “It’s also in line with what is expected of other industry sectors, as well as the EU Climate and Energy Framework and the global Paris agreement.”

This target should be conditional on the real market uptake of electrically-chargeable vehicles and the availability of charging infrastructure for alternatively-powered vehicles – which are crucial to achieve any significant CO2 reductions beyond 2020 levels. Concretely this means that, based on a mid-term review in 2025, this target could be adapted either upwards or downwards.

“In our opinion, this conditionality principle links Europe’s long-term climate objectives to the reality of the market,” Zetsche explained. “Currently the reality is that the market uptake of electrically-chargeable vehicles is low – and this is not due to lack of availability and choice.”

The latest ACEA data show that in the first half of 2017 electrically-chargeable vehicles made up 1.2% of total new car sales. Alternative powertrains will undoubtedly play an increasing role in the transport mix, and all ACEA’s members are investing heavily in them. However, equally important is that all EU member states start delivering on their commitments to step up investments in the necessary recharging and refuelling infrastructure.

In the interim, modern diesel technology will continue to play an important role in the gradual transition to low-carbon vehicles. Zetsche: “The latest generation of diesel vehicles is a very effective lever to achieve climate goals in the near future, because they emit 15-20% less CO2 than equivalent petrol vehicles.”

“Our industry is committed to being part of the solution when it comes to decarbonising road transport, while at the same time reducing pollutant emissions,” said Zetsche. Indeed, modern diesel vehicles now also deliver very low pollutant emissions on the road under the new real driving emissions (RDE) test that came into effect earlier this month.

ACEA also calls on the European Commission to consider the most cost-effective solutions and to take into account the social implications of the transition to low-carbon vehicles. 

Notes for editors

  • ACEA’s full position on the post-2021 CO2 regime for passenger cars is available here: 
  • A one-page visual summary can be downloaded here: 

About ACEA

  • The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler Truck, Ferrari, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco Group, JLR, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, and Volvo Group
  • Visit for more information about ACEA, and follow us on or


  • Ben Kennard, Senior Communications Manager,, +32 485 88 66 44

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
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