Association, Inc.

Issue No. 3, 2007

Public hearing held in July on "Reducing CO2 from passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles"

On 11 July 2007, the European Commission hosted a public hearing in Brussels on "Reducing CO2 from passenger cars and light-commercial vehicles". The event brought together representatives from the European Commission1, automotive suppliers2, NGOs3, consumer groups4, and the automotive industry5.  Hiroki Ota, Director General of JAMA’s European office in Brussels, presented the views of JAMA members.

Mr Ota began by highlighting the considerable efforts made by JAMA members to minimise the environmental impact of their products and to promote a wide range of measures to curb global warming and improve air quality.  While emphasising that JAMA fully supports the Commission’s objective to reduce CO2 emissions from automobiles, he stressed that the "devil lies in the detail" of the Commission’s proposals.

With respect to the 2012 target application year, Ota conveyed JAMA's position that this deadline should be postponed to 2015.  He explained how the development of a new car model, from the earliest design stage to its entry in the market, can take up to 7 years.  He also noted that Japan has introduced new fuel-efficiency standards whose target values will be enforced in 2015.  This deadline acknowledges the time constraints that manufacturers face and provides a realistic lead time of eight years.

Turning to JAMA's concerns over ambitious target values, Ota argued that road-transport CO2 emissions will not be dramatically reduced through breakthroughs in automotive technology alone.  JAMA, he said, is calling for an integrated approach which will involve all the stakeholders concerned—industry, government, and the driving public.

In Japan, the integrated approach has already been factored into the government's 2010 CO2 reduction targets for the domestic road transport sector.  This "three-in-one approach" is based upon greater fuel efficiency, road infrastructure improvements (including better traffic management) and the adoption of eco-driving practices.

In concluding, Ota spoke on the issue of the proposed "supplementary measures". He confirmed JAMA's support for the introduction of bio-fuels, but noted that ethanol and bio-diesel blend rates should be determined on the basis of a comprehensive evaluation of their impact on such areas as emissions and drivability.

1 Catherine Day (Secretary General), Mogens Peter Carl (Director General, DG Environment)  and Heinz Zourek (Director General, DG Enterprise and Industry)
2 European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) and European Tyre and Rubber Manufacturers Association (ETRMA)
3 Transport and Environment (T&E), etc.
4 BEUC, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)
5 European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA)