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Car makers facing huge fines over emissions claims PA Consulting

John Wood ·
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Ford, BMW, Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler, Peugeot Citroen including Opel/Vauxhall and Hyundai-Kia will all miss their 2021 CO₂ emissions targets, leaving them facing fines into the billions, according to PA Consulting Group.

Its annual forecast of car manufacturers’ performance against mandatory EU CO₂ emissions targets shows that only four out of 11 carmakers will meet the EU 2021 CO₂ emission target, with the rest facing significant fines.

The majority of carmakers will face penalties of €95 for every gram of CO₂ above the limit, multiplied by the number of cars they sell in 2020. PA Consulting says these fines could reach or rise above the €1bn mark for carmakers.

At the current rate, VW is expected to face the biggest fine of €1.7bn, followed by Fiat Chrysler with €1.2bn. The biggest fall from grace is Peugeot Citroen was set to meet EU emissions targets, but its merger with Opel and Vauxhall has affected its forecast until 2021.

In addition, German carmakers, particularly VW and BMW, face higher penalties and are still suffering from bigger gaps in CO₂ performance for 2021, primarily due to the decline of diesel in their portfolio without direct alternatives in place.

At the other end of the scale, there have been positive developments, with Volvo, Toyota, Renault-Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover expected to meet the EU emissions targets. Volvo is the new number one in the ranking, up from seventh last year. This is based on its strategy that all new models will have electric engines from 2019 onwards, which has resulted in a huge improvement in CO₂ performance ahead of 2021.

Jaguar Land Rover turns from amber to green for 2021 for the first time, achieving its target based on good progress for CO₂ performance in their fleet portfolio. Toyota remains number two, but also with significant improved CO₂ performance for 2021.

Emissions performance varies across countries but Norway leads the way. Norway has the lowest level of emissions and the highest use of plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, which made up 29% of new car sales in 2016, reflecting its policy of banning the internal combustion engine by 2025.

In comparison, meeting the UK’s ambitions to ban combustion engines by 2040 will be a challenge, due to the automotive sector’s reliance on conventional engines, with the UK appearing towards the bottom end of the scale of European countries.

Developments of alternatives lag behind other countries and it is not currently well placed to drive this shift to electric options, given it produces 2.5 million combustion engines a year, 15% of European total.

Thomas Goettle, head of automotive, PA Consulting Group, said: “Carmakers across Europe need to make radical changes in order to meet the EU CO₂ emissions targets for 2021. Many of them need to focus now on developing new models that will appeal to the consumer and help them meet their targets. There is nothing less than a revolution facing the car industry and those manufacturers who fail to keep up face potential fines in the billions.”

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