Porsche Rails at Emissions Caps That Favor Ghosn's Smaller Cars
By Alan Katz and Jeremy van Loon
Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Porsche AG is under threat from the drive to combat global warming, Chief Executive Officer Wendelin Wiedeking says.
Wiedeking has joined with other German luxury-car makers to protest a mandatory European Union cap on carbon-dioxide emissions that he says favors companies such as Renault SA and Fiat SpA that produce smaller vehicles.
``This is a business war in Europe,'' Wiedeking, 54, told shareholders at Stuttgart's Porsche Arena on Jan. 26. ``It's the French and Italians up against the Germans.''
The European Commission is proposing binding limits because carmakers risk missing voluntary targets. The commission plans to outline a preliminary proposal tomorrow in Brussels. Carlos Ghosn of France's Renault says it's time the industry did more to protect the environment. Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Turin, Italy-based Fiat each have several models with limited emissions.
Cars account for more than a 10th of the EU's emissions of CO2, the main gas blamed for global warming.
``Jobs are not lost when you proactively embrace change, but if you reactively resist it,'' said Johannes Laitenberger, the spokesman for Commission President Jose Barroso. The goal is to limit climate change while preserving competitiveness, he said.
``The key to meeting both objectives is to be ahead of the game, not sticking our heads in the sand, not standing still,'' Laitenberger told reporters in Brussels on Jan. 29.
Passenger cars in the EU emit an average 161 grams of CO2 a kilometer (9.14 ounces a mile), according to the EU.
The European industry's non-binding goal is to reduce emissions to 140 grams in 2008. EU regulators have discussed a mandatory cap of 120 grams a kilometer in 2012, said Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. Porsche's least-emitting vehicles are versions of the Boxster and Cayman sports cars, which each produce 222 grams of CO2 per kilometer.
It will cost carmakers an average 2,532 euros ($3,297) a vehicle to meet both targets, according to an October 2006 report for the commission. The cost to Porsche may average 4,650 euros a car, said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, head of the Center for Automotive Research at the University of Gelsenkirchen near Dusseldorf in Germany. He was once an executive at the company.