The US automaker, which has been broadening its line-up of hybrids and plug-ins during the past few years, is on record as being "disappointed" that the EU is delaying its vote, Automotive News Europe reports. The EU was set to put in place a mandate for fleetwide new-car emissions to drop to 95 grams per kilometer of CO2 (down from about 132 grams now) by the end of the decade. The 2020 standards correlate to a fuel economy level of about 59 miles per gallon, on the European cycle.
The German government has being lobbying against the new standards, saying that they will cause far more damage to a German car industry – with luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW – than to smaller-car companies like Fiat and Renault. BMW Chairman Norbert Reithofer said in May that the 2020 mandate is almost impossible to reach without a major investment in drivetrain technology from the European governments.
"This is also about employment" - German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Automotive News Europe that she supported the delay because jobs are more important than improving fuel economy. "This is also about employment," she said. "At a time when we're spending days sitting here talking about employment, we have to take care that, notwithstanding the need to make progress on environmental protection, we don't weaken our own industrial base."