Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: January 26, 2012

…but car companies will escape fines, nonetheless

  • As we go into 2012, the year when the 130 g/km limit on CO2 comes into force, only nine manufacturers have got below that figure, yet almost no manufacturer is worried.
  • Many will miss the target this year, but the range of loopholes means that fines are unlikely.

1. Total Market

2010 2011 improvement
average CO2 g/km average CO2 g/km %
Total Market 144.44 138.35 4.22%

2. Leading Manufacturers

There are now nine (out of 31) major manufacturers* which are below the overall target figure of 130 g/km of CO2:

2010 2011 improvement
Manufacturer* average CO2 g/km average CO2 g/km %
Fiat 124.58 116.31 6.64%
Citroen 128.19 121.48 5.23%
Toyota 124.99 124.42 0.46%
Seat 134.72 126.88 5.82%
Lexus 168.13 127.39 24.23%
Mini 128.03 128.21 -0.14%
Alfa Romeo 138.84 128.97 7.11%
Peugeot 134.49 128.97 4.10%
Hyundai 133.72 129.98 2.80%

Source: SMMT/Spyder Redspy

3. When is a target not a target?

There are three loopholes that mean almost no-one is actually in danger of paying a fine:

In 2012, only the lowest polluting 65% of each manufacturer’s range have to meet the target. Full compliance is not due until 2015. The EU is fond of quoting “130g/km of CO2 by 2012”, but this is simply not the case.

Car manufacturers who make heavy cars have a higher target. Take the example of Mercedes: with an average weight of 1661 KG, its current target is 143 g/km of CO2, not 130 g/km of CO2.

Manufacturers who sell less than 300,000 cars in the EU do not have to meet the target. So, a company that sells fewer than that can continue producing an average of, say 160 g/km of CO2, without fear. The only restriction for these companies is that their CO2 has to be 25% lower than it was in 2007 – but that is largely academic. Market forces mean that any mainstream manufacturer that was producing cars with over 200 g/km of CO2 in 2007 has had to cut by more than 25% anyway.

For a full explanation of all the data and a list of all manufacturers’ figures, see http://www.cleangreencars.co.uk/co2

* defined as manufacturers whose range includes four seat models, not just two seat city cars.