Well, the timing of this is not good. In the midst of Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) is claiming it won't be able to hit the stringent Euro 6 nitrogen oxide standards currently slated for the end of the decade.
Currently, European legislators are set to begin requiring tougher emissions standards by 2017. Standards would be ramped up until 2020, when all new cars sold across the pond would be required to emit just 0.080 kilograms of nitrogen oxide per kilometer. That's too tough for automakers, though.
Citing an "EU insider," AutoExpress reports that automakers are asking for conformity factors, which is a fancy way of saying they want easier standards. The automakers are requesting a conformity factor of 2.75 from 2017 to 2020, and a factor of 1.7 in 2020. What that means is that by 2020, new diesels would be allowed to emit 1.7 times the 0.080 g/km standard, or 0.136 g/km. While that might not be all that bad, if automakers were granted the 2.75 conformity factor, new diesels from 2017 wouldn't even be eligible for today's Euro 5 classification, AE claims.
Far and away the most astonishing thing here though, is the way the ACEA is viewing the VW diesel scandal. According to AE, the EU insider said automakers across the pond think there's "a US conspiracy against European diesels." Yep. Volkswagen installed software on millions of vehicles to cheat emissions tests and it's somehow an American conspiracy. That makes loads of sense.
To put it simply, automakers don't think their diesels will be able to hit European standards, so they're asking for a break. Whether European legislators go along with it remains to be seen.