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SMMT calls on MEPs to push for workable CO2 regulations

UK MEPs (Member of European Parliament) were encouraged to work with the automotive industry to help deliver a workable carbon dioxide tailpipe regulation for new cars.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders made it clear to MEPs in a meeting in Brussels last night that carmakers are not opposed to a robust new regulation, however, tailpipe targets must be delivered with appropriate lead times and any penalties must be consistent with the price of carbon.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “It is important that we protect choice in the market place and diversity of UK car manufacturing.

“We host seven volume car makers delivering 1.5 million new models each year, as well as the largest number of niche and low volume producers in Europe. It is essential that new CO2 rules are built on a thorough understanding of our industry and we welcome the opportunity to brief our colleagues in the European Parliament.”

SMMT outline the key issues for car makers which include:

Lead times
The industry supports a 2015 implementation date for new tailpipe targets. This will allow manufacturers to plan and develop new models to meet the targets. The European Commission has proposed a 2012 start date which SMMT argues is unrealistic because it does not reflect seven-year product life-cycles.

Proposed fines are disproportionate and inconsistent with the market price of carbon. Penalties could be as much as 14 times more onerous than under schemes like ETS – the European emission trading scheme. In addition, the Commission's own assessment suggests production costs could increase by six per cent per car.

The automotive sector is Europe's largest investor in R&D at €20bn per annum. SMMT believes there should be eco-credits for manufacturers whose products exceed regulatory targets. This will be an incentive for manufacturers to go beyond the targets rather than just working towards them.

Market diversity
The market in the UK is vibrant and diverse and the regulation must not distort this. Choice and product diversity must be watchwords for those shaping the regulation.

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