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Carmakers lobby EU to reduce regulation

Leading European car makers have called on the European Union to make a U-turn on the maze of regulations they claim leaves them at a disadvantage against international rivals.

At a meeting in Brussels, a delegation representing the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) told Commission president Romano Prodi that dense, complex and often conflicting regulations increased manufacturers' costs in the region.

“We need a reduction of inconsistent regulations – and any future rules should take the industry's lead-time needs into account. A commitment to combat over-regulation and ensure better quality rules would significantly improve the automotive regulatory environment,” says a spokesman.

Led by ACEA president and Volkswagen chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder, the delegation included Giuseppe Morchio of Fiat, Sir Nick Scheele of Ford, Louis Schweitzer of Renault and Volvo's Leif Johansson. It's believed they also tackled the EC about the location clause, which is scheduled to be scrapped next year. That will spell an end to market territories, and means dealers will be able to open outlets wherever they choose within the EU. Carmakers want the restrictions retained.

ACEA cites the automotive sector as one of the key contributors to European competitiveness but says the regulations weigh on the industry and raise the cost of doing business.

Pischetsrieder adds: 'We're keen to build a partnership with the Commission to help Europe become the world's most dynamic, competitive and innovative economy. But an action plan is needed to improve our competitiveness and there should be proper impact assessment for all regulatory and policy initiatives. “We believe the EU should agree on the creation of a high level working group.”

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