The CEOs of the main European car manufacturers on Wednesday jointly expressed the industry's determination to further reduce CO2 emissions from cars and reinforced their call on EU governments to embrace a cost-effective integrated approach towards cars and CO2, which would result in larger environmental gains and safeguard investments and employment in Europe.

"The EU objective to bring carbon emissions from cars down to 120 grammes per kilometre is achievable through an integrated approach and we fully support that route", said Sergio Marchionne, president of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) and CEO of Fiat.

The key elements of such a comprehensive approach are improved car technology, infrastructure changes, a more efficient driving style, CO2-related taxation and the greater use of biofuels.

The European automakers have invested extensively in CO2-cutting technologies over the past decade in response to rising concern about carbon emissions. More than 50 innovations were introduced since 1995 and many others are entering the markets today or will be ready in the near future. The innovations cover a wide variety of areas, such as engines and transmission, alternative fuel technologies, light-weight materials and aerodynamics.

"We are strongly committed and take our responsibility very seriously. We count on a EU policy that supports our efforts. There is a lot at stake for both the environment and the economy", emphasised the CEOs in Frankfurt.

The industry needs sufficient lead-time to prepare for specific legal requirements to reflect the long development and production cycles of the car industry.

"Sufficient lead-time is indispensable ahead of legislation that is this important. Possibly, a phase-in could be considered." Lead-time is a common practice around the world. The government of Japan has agreed on new CO2 requirements with the car industry last year resulting in average emissions of 138 grammes CO2 per kilometre from 2015.

The CEOs explained that, within a future policy framework, cars should stay accessible to consumers to ensure fleet renewal. The effect of possible legislation would have to be neutral as far as competition between manufacturers is concerned. CO2 reductions from cars should be related to the differentiation in the car portfolio of the EU manufacturers with a parameter based approach, and manufacturers should be able to average the CO2 performance of their fleet.