Auto Execs Call for Acceptance of Greener Vehicles

PARIS, France, September 30, 2002 (ENS) - The heads of 13 of the world's largest car and truck manufacturers have issued a joint statement calling for greater uptake of diesel over gasoline powered vehicles, quicker introduction of greener fuels and worldwide harmonization of technical rules for car emissions.

The statement was released on Friday after chief executives from European, Asian and American automotive firms met at the 2002 Paris Auto Show.


Jean-Martin Folz, PSA Peugeot Citroen chairman of the Managing Board and president of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (Photo courtesy PSA Peugeot Citroen)
Jean-Martin Folz, PSA Peugeot Citroen chairman of the Managing Board and president of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) hosted the first ever such forum, which discussed public policy issues for the auto industry. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association also participated.

Attendees agreed that working with governments, consumers and other stakeholders on issues such as safety and the environment is "critical."

Bill Ford, chairman of the board and CEO of Ford Motor Company, told the roundtable, "By 2020, there could be 1.1 billion vehicles on the road worldwide, which is nearly 50 percent more than in the year 2000."

"It's hard to actually predict where the technology will take us next," said Ford. "Even as basic a question as what will power future automobiles is difficult to answer. Obviously the potential of hybrid electric and fuel cells is compelling, and they’ve been getting huge amounts of publicity in recent years.


Bill Ford, chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company (Photo courtesy Ford)
"The internal combustion engine has stood the test of time, and has evolved into an extremely clean, efficient, and inexpensive power source," said Ford. "It continues to be improved, and emissions are now approaching zero in some designs."

The car makers favor diesel because of its "dramatically more efficient" fuel economy and lower carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas linked with global warming.

Carmakers are motivated to produce cleaner vehicles by the need of European, Japanese and Korean firms to come good on pledges made to the EU on significantly cutting average CO2 emissions from new cars by around 2008.


Toyota Highlander, a fuel cell hybrid vehicle (Photo courtesy Toyota)
New cars made by European manufacturers in 2001 emitted an average of 2.5 percent less carbon dioxide than those made in 2000, ACEA said in July, keeping the organization on track to achieve a 2008 target set in a 1998 voluntary agreement with the European Union.

The chief executives agreed to push for early establishment of "global technical regulations" to harmonize a range of safety and environmental standards.

They said it is "essential" for car makers to "gather support" for greener technologies such as hybrid electrics, clean diesels, fuel cells, and hydrogen combustion engines and to "convince customers to adopt these vehicles in large numbers."

The companies in attendance at the roundtable included: BMW, Daimler/Chrysler, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault, Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda.

{ENDS Environment Daily contributed to this report. Environmental Data Services Ltd, London}