Bosses of Europe's biggest car manufacturers met at the Geneva Motor Show to decide how to persuade the European Union to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions target it set European car manufacturers.
The EU wants car manufacturers to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions to 130g by 2012 after a voluntary scheme to cut them to 140g by 2008 has fallen short so far at 163g by 2005.
However, the car manufacturers are worried that the new targets are unachievable and could result in thousands of job losses as it could render them uncompetitive.
Premium car manufacturers, particularly the German marques such as BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Porsche, are especially concerned, as their cars emit the most carbon dioxide. Porsche's cars have average carbon dioxide emissions of almost 300g/km, more than double the current target.
The bosses of these companies want the EU to mollify both the target and the timescale for achieving it.
Christian Streiff, head of Peugeot-Citroen, said the proposals 'run a big risk of imposing on the European industry a burden which is huge and could damage competitiveness, but we all want to help combat global warming.'
Car manufacturers feel the EU's plan is unclear about whether the emissions limit would apply to a country's industry, to all segments of a market, or to car manufacturers.
As well as wanting this clarified, they also want the scheme backed up by tax incentives to encourage drivers to switch to greener fuels and more support from governments for an infrastructure of service stations which supply alternative fuels.
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