FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The head of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association said European automakers support plans to lower carbon dioxide emissions but said Wednesday it would take a major effort to meet a 2012 EU deadline.
''The EU objective to bring carbon emissions from cars down to 120 grams per kilometer is achievable through an integrated approach and we fully support that route,'' said Sergio Marchionne, who also is chief executive of Fiat SpA.
Marchionne spoke at the International Motor Show in Frankfort, flanked by other European auto executives — including DaimlerChrysler AG's CEO Dieter Zetsche and Renault SA Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn.
The EU's executive arm said it will set a binding target early next year because it was not satisfied with the car industry's voluntary goal to cut average emissions for new and imported cars to 140 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2008.
The current average is around 162 grams per kilometer.
Manufacturers are asking for ''an integrated approach'' that would include a 130 gram target — a cut of 18 percent — paired with tax incentives to encourage the use of biofuels to reach the 120-gram level.
Marchionne said Europe's automakers have invested extensively in technologies aimed at cutting emissions of carbon dioxide, including more fuel-efficient engines, research on hybrid engines, electric cars and hydrogen-powered motors, as well as lighter materials and improved aerodynamics.
''We are strongly committed and take our responsibility very seriously,'' he said. ''We count on an EU policy that supports our efforts. There is a lot at stake for both the environment and the economy.''
Road transport accounts for about one-fifth of the EU's CO2 emissions, with passenger cars alone responsible for 12 percent.