The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) said the COP21 climate conference, starting in Paris next week, was "a historic opportunity to establish a policy framework that allows Europe to drive down greenhouse gas emissions, while generating jobs and economic growth".

ACEA said it reaffirmed the automobile industry's commitment to further reducing CO2 emissions from both vehicles and production processes.

"At the same time, it is obvious that a more 'comprehensive' approach is necessary to address all the aspects that affect emissions during the use phase of a vehicle," Erik Jonnaert, secretary general said.

Such an approach seeks to reduce CO2 emissions more effectively by drawing on a full spectrum of solutions, whether this relates to the vehicle itself, alternative powertrains, faster fleet renewal, intelligent transport systems (ITS), improving infrastructure, decarbonising fuels, or altering driver behaviour.

The need for a comprehensive approach to further reduce CO2 emissions from road transport should be reflected in the EU's implementation of the COP21 agreement, ACEA said.

"Policy makers should also ensure that the COP21 talks result in equivalent conditions for all major emitting economies and industrial sectors around the world."

Jonnaert added: "Only a level playing field between countries, as well as industrial sectors, will allow the EU automotive industry to make the long-term investments that are necessary to tackle the climate change challenge."