• Aug 5th 2008 at 7:32PM
  • 50

With the European Union tightening restrictions on carbon emissions, danger has been spelled out in big bright letters for the sportscar-makers we know and love. The bulk of the world's best supercar manufacturers – including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, Aston Martin and Porsche – reside in Europe, but while industry executives continue to campaign for exception and protection, things don't look good. There are, however, a few solutions that could keep the exotic automakers in business and unmolested.

Firstly, both automakers and lawmakers agree on the need to reduce weight, which helps neither emissions nor performance. However, weight reduction itself won't bring the supercars below the 120g/km target touted by the EU. One possible solution would be to give niche automakers an exemption, noting that the few cars they produce are rarely driven anyway. According to Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann, exotic automakers like his "are representing Europe to the world" and "are a species to protect", much like an art form. That's something we car lovers can appreciate, and if it strikes a cord with the lawmakers it could help some of the smaller independent automakers like Aston Martin and Lotus, but it won't help the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini, which are part of bigger auto groups Fiat and Volkswagen, respectively. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has argued that it would be unreasonable to force low-polluting little Fiats like the Panda and the 500 to bear the burden of their more polluting cousins from Ferrari and Maserati simply because they happen to be under common management.

At the end of the day, these exotic sportscars are not the big problem, though they do make easy targets. If European Union bureaucrats ignore the former and focus on the latter, Europe's most famous automakers could be legislated right out of business.

[Source: Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sports cars cannot kill the planet's atmosphere as ultimately, they are limited in number, and nowadays they are quite efficient so as to pollute less than many normal cars from yesteryear. What's more, what right has motorsports got to exist if sports cars are made illegitimate?

      Maybe sports cars should be classified as "toys" (not like Lego, but you know what I mean) and sold without restrictions on such things
      • 7 Years Ago
      There's nothing wrong with four inboard motors. The car will need a good wide stance since there's not much space for two induction motors with integral planetary reducers between wheels. The GM's Impact did however manage it with twin 57Hps to get 8 sec to 60mph. A four wheel drive version could possibly garner a 4 second ramp.

      Or how about a two motor setup ? Each axle with a combined reducer differerential unit Tesla style for both front and rear.
      It might even obviate the need for Trac control.

      I agree that we have to somehow quell the feeling by every person on the planet that fresh air is just for the taking and curtail the production of these large internal combustion engines wherever it is justifiable.
      To allow these non commercial conveyances on the road, whether by the Uber rich or not, cannot be condoned any longer.

      Sure there'll be a ruckus. It raised a ruckus here when they started to ban smoking in bars, not even the smoking of just one cigarette was allowed. Now most agree it was a good thing and business has not suffered.

      Hybridisation - Toyota has shown that supercars can take advantage of the HSD - could be the way of the future.

      Otherwise I am going to bring back Steam ! Yes ! And with real coal !
      It'll be "Er yes Officer I do have a particulate filter on this"
      • 7 Years Ago
      Boohoo! The rich just have it sooo awful. Not being allowed to disproportionately damage our planet! What's next?

      Biggie was so right. "More money, more problems". There's just no curse in this world worse than being rich enough to afford a Lamborghini.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The argument that it's okay to pollute (beyond what we have agreed upon as a standard) because they don't do it that much makes about as much sense as saying it's okay to commit insurance fraud because people don't do it that much. Insurance fraud is still bad, obviously if everyone did it, that would bankrupt the companies and no one would be able to get insurance. The same goes for cars: pollution is still bad and if everyone polluted that much, the environment would be in even worse shape. Being rich is not enough of an excuse to avoid playing by the same rules as everyone else.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Or maybe this stuff is just getting out of hand.

      Sports cars are not going to be bringing the world to an end.

      If efficiency is a product of making a sports car a better sports car, great, lighter, cleaner burning, whatever. Fantastic.

      But if sports cars lose their focus, and try to be "green" as a goal, then there is a big problem.

      This is political bullcrap inserting itself where it doesn't belong. It is not science, it is not "saving the world", it is bullcrap eco-guilt and the politics of control.

      I love sports cars, and europe is where the best ones are made. (Japan no longer seems to want to make any, and the US manufacturers seem to be still stuck on 40 year old muscle cars.)

      And if our dear european socialist friends want to push those products off of their purpose, I guess I'll just have to buy ones that already exist, rather than ones that have yet to exist.

      I'll say it again, so it is perfectly clear. if efficiency comes along for the ride, GREAT. If efficiency becomes the goal of a sports car, then you might as well buy an economy car, and leave sports cars to those who know, understand, and love them for what they are built to do.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There's a line for the Tesla. Why wouldn't be a line for a all electric Ferrari? Lambos could have all-wheel drives like they do now but with individual motors at each wheel (which would help in handling even more).
        • 7 Years Ago
        Care to aptly explain to us how moving all that weight from the center of the car INTO the wheel is going to improve handling? Keep in mind everyone, and I do mean everyone, is under the impression less unsprung weight IMPROVES handling.

        Thanks in advance.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Or they could move outside the EU :-o
        • 7 Years Ago
        You want them to move out of their biggest markets? One of the biggest car markets in the world with 500-700 million people?! Their own home markets? Outside the economic zone where their products are not subject to import duties? Yeah, I see that happening.

        Where would they even move? To Africa? The Middle East?
      • 7 Years Ago
      You said it right when you said they are not the big problem but make easy targets. It's purely political with zero impact on anything.

      If you're going to make a difference, then make a difference.
      • 7 Years Ago
      evolve or go extinct. that is the bottom line.
      • 7 Years Ago
      As much as i enjoy the vehicles these companies produce I see no reason why they should be exempt from emissions regulations no matter how stringent they may be. Just because the few vehicles they produce are of such high value that they are out of the price range of the vast majority and therefore should not be effected by such regulations gives the impression that the rich can pollute simply because they can afford to. Which results in many being effected by the actions of a few.

      As an earlier commenter noted, companies such as Tesla and Fiskar are looking at ways to exist with such regulations; granted it is still too early to see how successful these ventures will be, but now is a turning point for the automotive industry(and many others). Those who adapt and evolve may succeed to see the future, those who refuse and lobby against such legislation may find themselves closing up shop due to their stubbornness, I hope that is not the case.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ah, remember the late 80's when everybody was coming out with supercars and then the stock market went bust? Well same story, same ending. Lets hope 2020 will be the next boom decade.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I remember that fuel costs were high in the 70s and 80s, and automakers complained about catalytic convertors and other crap to make cars run cleaner. This is the same thing. They'll get over it, and make 'clean' sports cars.
      • 7 Years Ago
      These manufacturers can simply just pull their operations out of Europe and move them to North America. If things become too restrictive here I'm sure many Asian countries would be happy to be home to Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc. The European Union will be the ultimate loser in the long run.
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