Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel has called for her country’s auto industry to lead the development of fuel-efficient cars.

Merkel said that in view of the latest reports on climate change it is not enough to just try to aim to reduce greenhouse gases.

“We must push technological development above all things and use all the creativity of our developers and engineers,” she said in a weekly video broadcast.

Transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee wants to introduce a CO2 labelling system for all new cars and introduce CO2 emissions-based vehicle taxes.

Merkel called for vehicle developers and engineers to prioritise CO2 emissions reduction in new vehicle development.

“In this way fuel efficiency will guarantee future jobs in the German automotive industry,” she said.

According to a local press agency, Germany is supporting the European Commission in its aim of reducing average CO2 emissions of new cars to 120g/km. A target of 130g/km should come from vehicle technology while the remainder from other measures such as mixing bio-fuels into diesel and petrol.

Automotive expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer has said the EU plans offer a good opportunity for the European supplier industry. Dudenhöffer is reported by industry publication Automobilwoche to have calculated that up to 50,000 new supplier jobs could be created. Vehicle manufacturers are dependent on suppliers to develop new technologies to reduce CO2 emissions.

A survey in the Sunday tabloid newspaper, Bild am Sonntag, found that 64% of Germans would pay more for less-polluting cars though 21% would not.

A CO2 labelling system could be introduced in Germany from 2008.