Volkswagen Group facing EU fine for missing 2020 CO2 target
24 January 2021 - autocar
Firm dramatically increases sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids but narrowly misses emissions target
The Volkswagen Group is facing a fine from the European Union (EU) after the manufacturer pool it's in narrowly missed its target for cutting the CO2 emissions of its vehicles.
To encourage a switch to low- and zero-emissions vehicles, the EU introduced tough new CO2 emissions rules for 2020, based on a fleet average of 95g/km, with firms allowed to ‘pool’ their emissions towards single targets.
The Volkswagen Group dramatically grew its sales of electric cars in 2020, with the 315,400 sold up from 72,600 the previous year. EVs and plug-in hybrids accounted for 9.7% of its sales, up from 1.7% in 2019.
That helped the Volkswagen Group reduce the average CO2 emissions of its European passenger fleet to an average of 99.8g/km – a reduction of around 20% from 2019. But that figure meant the manufacturer pool that the Volkswagen Group is part of averaged 99.3g/km, narrowly missing its target by 0.5g/km.
The final figures still have to be confirmed by the European Commission, which will determine the fine. The regulations call for a penalty of €95 (£85) for each g/km the target is exceeded per car sold.
Volkswagen Group boss Herbert Diess said that the progress made showed the firm was “making good progress on the road to becoming a CO2-neutral company”. He added: “We narrowly missed the fleet target for 2020, thwarted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Along with Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Audi, Cupra and Skoda are now bringing out further attractive electric models. This will allow us to achieve our fleet target this year.”
According to the Volkswagen Group, both Volkswagen and Audi “over-fulfilled” their CO2 fleet targets this year, due to sales of the ID 3 and E-tron respectively.
The Volkswagen Group pool includes all of its brands aside from Bentley and Lamborghini, which are measured individually. In recent months, it struck deals with several manufacturers in a bid to help it hit its target, with MG, Aiways, Next e.Go and SAIC’s European division joining its pool.