Tragicomic’ Volkswagen singled out for criticism

May 9, 2007

The environmental organisation Germanwatch is making a formal complaint to the OECD about Volkswagen.

[mailchimp_signup][/mailchimp_signup]Germanwatch says VW’s concentration on the luxury sector of the car market, and certain lobbying activities against regulations to force cars to be more climate-friendly, has caused it to breach OECD guidelines that VW committed itself to.

Germanwatch’s Cornelia Heydenreich said: “By signing up to the guidelines, VW effectively agreed to orient its corporate strategy towards actions that avoid making climate change worse. Yet it has concentrated on the sector consuming the highest amounts of fuel, and carried out aggressive lobbying against rules on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

The OECD’s guidelines say individual car makers are responsible for the climate performance of their products, and industry groupings (such as Acea) are not.

Germanwatch has highlighted the “tragicomic” case of the Bugatti Veyron. Having encouraged VW to produce a “one-litre car”, meaning that it can go 100km on one litre, they now find VW has a “one-litre” car that can do just 1km per litre at full load!

The organisation says it is looking at other German car makers, but unlike VW they have at least been willing to discuss the problem.

VW has a new general director, Martin Winterkorn, who has said he is interested in introducing hybrid versions of the Polo and Golf models to bring down the company’s average CO2 emissions.

• The French car maker Renault has launched a label to show which of its cars emit no more than 140 g/km of CO2 (or equivalent). The “eco2” label will also indicate a car that has at least 5% recycled materials, that 95% of it is recyclable, and it has been built in an ISO-14001 certified factory.

• Legislation forcing EU car makers to reduce average CO2 emissions to 130 g/km by 2012 moved a step closer last month, with Germany calling on all member states to back its draft resolution at next month’s Council of environment ministers.

This news story is taken from the May 2007 edition of T&E Bulletin.

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