EU, Japanese and US trucks and engine manufacturers underlined the need of UN/ECE to address fuel quality

Hanover, Germany, 20 September 2006. “The commercial vehicle and engines industry has achieved significant results in improving the environmental performance of their products. Now we need to emphasise the global availability of high-quality fuels as a significant condition for further progress.” This was said today by Paolo Monferino, the CEO of IVECO SpA, who chaired the 4th Global Commercial Vehicle Industry Meeting in Hannover. “Furthermore, future progress in environmental performanse, safety and efficiency of road transport requires sustained cooperation between industry, government and vehicle users in order to maintain the high level of achievements in the past”, Monferino added.

The meeting in Hannover brought together the chief executives of the world’s leading manufacturers of heavyduty vehicles and engines from Europe, Japan and the United States to discuss challenges facing the industry. Similar meetings were previously held in Amsterdam, Tokyo and Chicago in 2003, 2004 and 2005. In today’s meeting, the executives also focused on actions to achieve necessary harmonisation in several policy fields and explored future global challenges for truck transportation.

Fuel Quality

As emissions requirements become more stringent, the link between market fuel quality and the introduction of new vehicle technologies becomes more critical. However, in most parts of the world, fuel specification changes are driven by refining economics and logistics, not engine technology. This is particularly the case in the developing countries and transition economies.

This situation highlights the need for Global Fuel Regulations, in parallel with continued efforts to globally harmonise vehicle emission regulations. Already at the 3rd Global Commercial Vehicle Meeting in Chicago last year the participants agreed that priority should be given to this issue within the UN and that future fuel regulations should include sulfur limits. This year Mr Gauvin, the Chairman of the UN/ECE/WP291, was invited to address the issue and provided information on the prospects of “Global Fuel Regulations”.

Although there has been some difference of opinion among members of WP29, the prevailing view seems to be that the issue of market fuel quality does not currently fall within the scope of WP29 and the 1958 and 1998 agreements. Therefore, for UN regulation of market fuel quality to be achieved, some structural change would have to take place. This might involve a revision of the agreements mentioned above, to include motor vehicle fuel quality within their scope, together with the consequent expansion of participation and consultation as necessary and appropriate. An official request from the global automotive industry to UN/ECE to deal with the “Fuel Quality” issue was handed over to Mr Gauvin.

Global Technical Regulations

The meeting underlined the importance of internationally harmonized regulations and test procedures as a means to promote the rapid introduction and deployment of cost-effective new technologies to reduce emissions, increase energy efficiency and promote safer vehicles in the future. The meeting urged the parties involved in these harmonisation efforts not to allow national conditions to block progress. The vehicle and engine manufacturers reconfirmed their commitment to cooperate in promoting harmonistion of government regulations relating to a number of issues. Therefore, the participants encourage their respective governments to agree and to adopt, as soon as possible, fully harmonised Global Technical Regulations on Emissions Certification Testing, On Board Diagnostics and on Off-cycle Emissions, thereby benefiting the environment, consumers, and heavy vehicle manufacturers.

Challenges Facing Truck Transportation in the Future

The principal challenges facing truck manufacturers and truck operators in the industrialised regions of the world are the need to improve continually environmental and safety performance, ensuring the availability of energy sources, and the need to improve continually the efficiency and productivity of truck operations. To address these issues, the participants agreed to establish working groups to; study the feasibility and prospects for harmonized methods for assessing CO2 emissions; to identify effective ways to promote incentives for safety technologies and; to review prospects for alternative fuels to practicably reduce the need for oil.

Intellectual Property

Respect for intellectual property is now becoming also a major concern for commercial vehicle manufacturers as counterfeit products are rapidly increasing, and thus, the adoption of effective countermeasures is required urgently. Government authorities, especially of developing countries, have yet to target this problem as a highpriority policy issue, while the awareness of the general public has yet to be raised. The participants agreed with the consensus reached at the 4th Global Automotive Industry meeting that strengthened appeals should be made to governments to address counterfeit automotive products as a priority issue.

Together with achieving greater consumer awareness of the fact that the majority of low-quality counterfeit products harbour the potential of exerting serious impact on health and safety, these are effective countermeasures for further protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. Moreover, an agreement was reached that the Commercial Vehicle Manufacturers will join the Working Group on Intellectual Property establised in February 2006. The Working Group will examine specific measures for counterfeit issues that can be implemented globally by focusing on systematic action and information sharing.

Next Meeting

An invitation was extended by the CEO of Nissan Diesel Mr Nakamura, on behalf of JAMA, to host the fifth Global Commercial Vehicle Industry Meeting in Japan on 25th October, 2007. Members and staff of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) participated also in the meeting.

1 UNECE World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations, WP29.

Notes for editors

List of Participants available in attatchment

About ACEA

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