Merkel Backs German Carmakers' CO2 Stance
Merkel encouraged assembled guests such as BMW Chief
Executive Norbert Reithofer to continue investing in
fuel-efficient cars, but lent her backing to their demands for a
weight-based solution to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
"If we want to get to 120 grams by 2012 on average then the
German auto industry has my support that this must be fairly
distributed along (car size) segments," she said.
Unlike their German rivals, European carmakers such as PSA
Peugeot Citroen and Fiat are more dependent on the sale of small
cars like the Peugeot 207 and the Fiat Grande Punto, whose
diesel versions already meet or come close to meeting the EU
target of 120 grams C02 per kilometre.
The EU is preparing to unveil legislation next year that
would force carmakers to hit the goal by 2012, and German
carmakers fear their larger, heavier vehicles could be
drastically disadvantaged by strict clean-air rules.
Merkel cited statistics often used by the German automotive
industry association VDA as she underlined the critical role the
domestic carmakers play in Europe's largest economy.
She noted the near 20 percent share in exports supplied by
the automotive industry, that one out of every seven German jobs
is connected to automobiles and the relatively low 15 percent
share of overall CO2 output emitted by cars on the road.
Members of her coalition government have been less kind to
the industry, in particular Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
Gabriel, a Social Democrat, ironically played a role in
approving gas guzzlers like the 12-cylinder VW Phaeton luxury
saloon when he served on the supervisory board of Volkswagen as
premier of Lower Saxony state.