A target for the European vehicle industry of 130g CO2 per kilometre by 2012 is not feasible, Fiat CEO and European automakers (Acea) head Sergio Marchionne reiterated.

At a lunch for European members of parliament (MEPs) in Strasbourg, he said: “It will force our innovative industry out of Europe, without benefiting the environment in an even vaguely to sufficient way.

“CO2 emissions from new cars have decreased significantly over the past decade. The majority of emissions today are caused by an ageing car fleet on Europe’s roads, by growing congestion, by a lack of traffic management and by a rise in mileage.

“It is very important that governments and the public at large understand these developments and design a policy that addresses the true challenge, maximising results in the most cost-effective way.

“The industry will continue to take many incremental steps, again delivering significant CO2 reductions in the coming years. But additional requirements on the car industry cannot be implemented before 2015. The production of cars is planned well ahead and only very limited changes can be made afterwards.”

Marchionne stressed that vehicle technology alone will not solve the problem and should therefore not be the only focus point of future policy framework.

“It is absolutely crucial to implement an integrated approach to achieve the ambitious targets society wants, combining vehicle technology with a larger use of alternative fuels, intelligent traffic management, changes in driving style and implementation of CO2-related taxation, to shape consumer demand,” he told MEPs.

“Our industry is fully aware of the challenges of climate change, and fully committed to reducing carbon emissions.

“Between 1995 and 2005, emissions from new cars have decreased by over 13%, mainly through vehicle technology.

“These results could have been better, had there not been the counter-productive effects of EU regulations, market trends and low demand for fuel-efficiency: counterproductive effects that amount to almost 15g of CO2 per kilometre.”

Marchionne noted that the motor industry was one of the most-regulated in Europe.

“Today, there are roughly 80 European directives and 115 UN/ECE pieces of legislation that concern automobiles.

“Clearly, regulation can both be an enabler and a burden. It is crucial that the EU institutions establish a regulatory framework in which the automotive industry can continue to thrive and fulfil its economic and societal role.”