In a last moment bid to delay new EU vehicle emissions limits by four years as it battles to win more time for its luxury auto industry, government officials and diplomats said Germany has also enlisted French carmakers’ support.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is engaged in an uphill struggle to weaken the measures cutting new car emissions to 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2020 – a major challenge for upmarket German automakers Daimler and BMW.
Berlin wants to re-open and water down draft carbon dioxide goals agreed in June by introducing the phase-in period, under a proposal circulated by diplomats. Up until now the country so far has been unable to secure support from a blocking minority of EU governments to dilute the new rules, ahead of a vote expected next week.
But, according to officials, now the French carmakers Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroen broke ranks with their government to side with their German industrial partners Daimler, BMW and Opel.
Under the latest German counter-proposal, the 95 gram limit would apply only to 80% of new cars in 2020, rising by 5% points each year to full implementation in 2024. Germany has so far won backing from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – not enough to block the vote. Still, Paris has yet to respond, a German government official said. “It’s not clear if they will support the French carmakers’ position.”