Coronavirus-hit carmakers urge EU to pull legislative handbrake


By Sam Morgan |


The car industry has warned Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and climate chief Frans Timmermans that the coronavirus will disrupt plans to meet EU standards. [Photo: European Commission]

Europe’s largest auto manufacturers have argued that the coronavirus outbreak will limit their ability to comply with EU rules aimed at cleaning up the sector’s carbon footprint.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) – which represents the likes of Ford, Honda and Volkswagen – said in a letter addressed to six European Commissioners on Wednesday (25 March) that “we have never experienced anything like this [coronavirus]”.

ACEA and a number of groups linked to the industry warned that a lack of production, development and testing, caused by factory closures and disrupted supply chains, will hurt the sector’s timetable.

“This upsets the plans we had made to prepare ourselves for complying with existing and future EU laws and regulations within the applicable deadlines set in these regulations,” the letter reads.

It adds that “we believe therefore that some adjustment would need to be made to the timing of these laws” but insists that carmakers do not seek to undermine the objectives of the rules, such as tackling climate change.

The letter does not specify which EU benchmarks need to be adjusted but EURACTIV understands that CO2 standards for 2020 and 2030 are top of the sector’s list.

While European carmakers cry for help, environmentalists say public money aimed at helping the automotive industry recover from the COVID-19 crisis must be future-proof and geared towards green technologies.

A fleet-average limit of 95 grammes of CO2 per kilometre for all new vehicles kicks in fully in January 2021 but has already been partly in force since the beginning of this year. Some carmakers like the Peugeot group claim they have started to meet the target in Quarter 1.

Mobility analysts point out that rock-bottom sales figures caused by the virus outbreak will not necessarily affect compliance because the rules are based on average emissions.

In fact, some forecasters say an economic downturn could help carmakers in this regard because motorists tend to choose smaller, compact cars – where there is more choice of electric vehicles – when times are financially tough.

Julia Poliscanova, a clean vehicles expert at NGO Transport & Environment, said that the type of car sold is paramount and that any post-virus stimulus measures “should be targeted at zero-emissions cars”.

VW, the world’s largest marque, has shuttered much of its European production because of the outbreak’s impact on business but still plans to debut two new all-electric cars – the ID:3 and ID:4 – later this year.

The EU’s 2030 legislation is more of a concern for carmakers as the Commission had already suggested an early review of the rules next year under its Green Deal, rather than the previously planned 2023 stocktake.

Stricter air pollutant standards for combustion engines will also be assessed and the EU executive aims to have enough rules in place in 2025 “to ensure a clear pathway towards zero-emission mobility”, according to a high-ranking official.

Full article here.

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Steve Case
March 27, 2020 3:38 pm

“we believe therefore that some adjustment would need to be made to the timing of these laws” but insists that carmakers do not seek to undermine the objectives of the rules, such as tackling climate change.

So much mealy mouth B.S.

Michael Jankowski
March 27, 2020 3:46 pm

2030 is the concern, and they’re already hopelessly behind without help? Never built-in any float for recessions, disasters, labor strikes, or anything else in their schedules? Baloney.

March 27, 2020 3:59 pm

Dr. Fauci writes in the New England Journal of Medicine that Coronavirus is less severe than the flu.

Chief medical advisor to the Trump administration, Dr. Anthony Fauci’s recent findings have just been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the world’s leading medical journal.

Published continuously for over 200 years, NEJM delivers high-quality, peer-reviewed research and interactive clinical content to physicians, educators, and the global medical community.

“In another article in the Journal, Guan et al. report mortality of 1.4% among 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19; these patients had a wide spectrum of disease severity, If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to sSARS or MERS, which had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36% respectively.”

Read the whole thing here:

p.s. The entire British mainstream media and all outlets are determined not to mention either this or the many reports of successful cures for COVID-19. Instead, they persist in their scare stories and demands for even more severe punishments for people daring to walk around outside even in the middle of a national park or go anywhere by public transport. Is Britain a democratic country or a banana republic being run by the editor of the Daily Mail?

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Sasha
March 27, 2020 4:25 pm

Is Britain a democratic country or a banana republic being run by the editor of the Daily Mail?

That’s just bizzarro tin-foil-hat conspiracy theory stuff!

As if the UK was actually democratic!

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
March 29, 2020 5:15 am

The Cabinet Office of Sir Mark Sedwill, as some say the King of the UK, has gone bananas.
The Daily Mail’ Littlejohn usefully reported on this 08-Jul-2019.

Reply to  Sasha
March 27, 2020 4:36 pm

The mortality rate is like that of an annual run of the mill flu season. Yet millions of people are hiding under their beds, terrified of this invisible bogeyman.

It’s time to disconnect the cable tv and get off social media. Its time to regain control of our lives.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Klem
March 27, 2020 5:17 pm

“Klem March 27, 2020 at 4:36 pm

It’s time to disconnect the cable tv and get off social media. Its time to regain control of our lives.”

Due to my current living arrangements I don’t have a TV, which TBH has been a blessing. I don’t surf “social media sites” either so I have missed most of the media hype. It’s only when I go outside to work do I see the evidence of the panic. Closed cafes/pubs, warning signs everywhere, empty streets/roads. Empty shops of toilet paper. Two security guards at my local supermarket now. I haven’t been directly informed of the “public spacing” laws, that if broken can attract a huge fine.

It insane!

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 27, 2020 7:15 pm

Still got quinine wine on the shelves in South Cackalacy, and plenty of shot gun shells. And best of all gasoline and Bud Lite, I can still get out in the bushes for a nite or 2, guzzle a few beers, have no cell fone signal, and see no people…been practicing social distancing for decades b4 it became popular…let them call you names…but don’t let them make you play their games…they are f-tard morons…we can b more than that with little effort….or rather, no effort! (sound of canned beer being cracked open…where’s the popcorn?)

Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 28, 2020 1:23 am

Have not had TV for at least 30y. Still not missing it.
Never had Twatter or Farcebook account.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Greg
March 28, 2020 2:21 am

I miss Star Trek re-runs only for Uhura!

Reply to  Klem
March 27, 2020 6:46 pm

Yeah you go Klem, when you test positive come back and tell us how mild the symptoms are.

Reply to  LdB
March 27, 2020 8:06 pm

Go hide under your bed, LdB. And don’t forget your toilet paper.

Fredo says the bogeyman is gonna get ya.

Reply to  Sasha
March 27, 2020 5:05 pm

Neil Ferguson now saying 20k deaths in UK, which far less than his dire previous predictions. And with half of these deaths if there was no covid virus the patients would have died within a year anyhow due to underlying health conditions!

Reply to  Sasha
March 27, 2020 5:57 pm

This is a very important data point, but all the instant experts on traditional and social media keep manufacturing the idea that if we step outside it means instant death for everyone in the area.

Now I certainly don’t wish a “severe seasonal influenza” on anyone. Even a healthy individual will have a miserable couple of weeks fighting through it. But if this 0.1% fatality rate is accurate, then our leaders had better get working on restoring economic activity before we all go bankrupt.

Reply to  PaulH
March 28, 2020 3:05 am

No PaulIH they drone on and on about ventilators

Reply to  Sasha
March 28, 2020 8:52 am

Thanks Sasha. I’ve been sharing that link with family and friends.

March 27, 2020 4:08 pm

“…. climate chief Frans Timmermans..”

Is that a real job?

Johannes S. Herbst
Reply to  Derg
March 27, 2020 9:17 pm

Yes, he gets paid for it.

March 27, 2020 4:17 pm

Don’t they really have no other problems thhan CO2 reduction ?
And than ask just U.v.d.L. ??
They just have to look at the German Army, what she does (not) or is (not) able to 😀

Reply to  Krishna Gans
March 28, 2020 2:31 am

She ordered hundreds of ATCs designed to fit the “average european” then suddenly discovered only about 10% of German squaddies could actually fit inside them !!

Friggin bureaucrats and their statistics.

Russ Wood
Reply to  Greg
March 29, 2020 6:01 am

Back in my aviation “Weights Engineer” days, we used a standard 75 kilograms for an average passenger plus hand-baggage. I wonder what it would be these days? Anyway, there are ALWAYS variations from the ‘standard’ – for example, we had to re-calculate for Fiji Airways – those Polynesians are big guys!

Dr. Bob
March 27, 2020 4:49 pm

Exhaust emission standards (for actual pollution emissions, not CO2) are already low enough that the exhaust from cars in California are already lower than ambient air quality. Intake air for car emissions tests must be ultra-filtered to remove particulate matter already in the air as the exhaust from the engine will not meet the standard if the intake air has any PM in it.
Further reduction in emissions standards have no impact on actual air quality but only add cost to manufacture the car and hurt fuel economy. Right now, tight emissions standards reduce fuel economy by 20% from what it could be if realistic emission standards were in place. So it seems that emissions standards are used to strangle the auto industry and force EVs on us despite the fact that EVs actually don’t reduce GHG emissions much if at all once all factors are included in GHG emissions calculations. This would include emissions for all aspects of manufacture of EVs such as precious metals and Rare Earth Elements needed for electric motors and batteries.

Mark A Luhman
Reply to  Dr. Bob
March 28, 2020 1:09 am

If I can get gas without alcohol in it it increase my fuel mileage by 15%, now tell me why ethanol is a good idea? On any level?

Reply to  Mark A Luhman
March 28, 2020 8:36 am

It’s not. It’s become an established subsidy for agricultural states.

March 27, 2020 5:00 pm

If they could come to grips with the scientific truth, it would become clear that all these silly virtue signaling regulations are unnecessary in the first place. It would seem to be a no brainer, but since climate science has become so politically divisive and the political left is so incredibly vested in the broken science, they can’t even consider the possibility of being wrong as the consequences would be fatal to their politics.

If more people understood how wrong the political left is about climate change it would inspire them to question some of the other dogma and the last thing they want is for those who vote for them to do any actual due diligence. They depend on voters believing only what the echo chamber wants them to believe.

March 27, 2020 5:12 pm

So Germany is feeling the Green pinch to their bottom line? Without Germany the EU is defunct and both of them know it. Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of removing fossil fuels from Capitalistic countries and the manufacturers are scared that all their glad handing days are over and reality is taking hold. My bet is Capitalism will win because without financial support the EU, UN, Globalists, and Marxists will fail to take hold on a world wide basis. They’ll never convince China and India to give up economic and living standard progress and there’s no way they can hide their use of fossil fuels while everyone else is giving them up. Check mate.

Flight Level
March 27, 2020 5:33 pm

A collapsing German car industry is for us a scenario far worse than if we all ate coronavirus concentrate with a teaspoon at breakfast.

Time to call for a GermExit !

Mike Lowe
Reply to  Flight Level
March 28, 2020 2:57 am

Who is “us”? Good for the UK balance of payments, not of great consequence elsewhere I would have thought. Except in Germany, of course. If that makes Frau Merkel even more unhappy, and those unelected EU plutocrats insecure in their jobs, no worries.
I’m happy with my UK-built Nissan in NZ!

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Mike Lowe
March 28, 2020 3:23 am

You should trade it in for a Subahru.

Flight Level
Reply to  Patrick MJD
March 29, 2020 3:41 am

We are happy with our TDI’s that give work to our workers who in turn buy holiday air tickets to sunny destinations and help feed many families, mine inclusive.

I’m also proud to fly-out our export cargo and fly-in goodies that keep other economies alive.

Each and every way, our car/truck industry is a major player for us and EU would feel a bad sting if it were to collapse.

Reply to  Flight Level
March 29, 2020 5:27 am

Hear hear!
It seems some are determined to send the economy on that flight from Sydney to LA – see the movie series “Lost”.

March 27, 2020 6:10 pm

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will collapse the European car industry just like she neutered the German military.

J Mac
March 27, 2020 6:45 pm

‘Lay down with dogs, get up with fleas….’
The EU carmakers ‘climate change’ pandering has direct consequences.

Albert H Brand
March 28, 2020 4:21 am

My dog doesn’t have any fleas, only ticks.

March 28, 2020 7:25 am

climate chief Frans Timmermans

Climate chief? Climate chief???? People in the future are going to read in amazement & be dumbfounded. What is a climate chief going to do, a rain-dance to end the drought? Make sacrifices to the climate-gods?

Reply to  beng135
March 29, 2020 5:21 am

There was a certain pyramid in Mexico where the Climate Chief appeased with thousands of live human offerings.
Then the Spanish arrived, thought they were in Hell, and we are told today they were the bad guys.

Today the EU pontificates the Spanish are the bad guys for not sticking to severe austerity in the face of Corona. Such a fight broke out over this yesterday means it could be the end of the EU.

March 28, 2020 12:04 pm

Bullshit, they just want tax payers money. Tell them to sod off, and if they dont meet targets their cars will be illegal.

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