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Europe automakers will not challenge 2035 fossil-fuel car ban, industry group says

Geneva International Motor Show

By Gilles Guillaume

(Reuters) - Europe's automakers will not challenge the European Union's decision to effectively ban fossil-fuel vehicles as of 2035 no matter who wins this year's European parliamentary elections, the head of the continent's auto industry group said on Monday.

Speaking at a press conference at the Geneva car show, Luca de Meo, president of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), said the auto industry's responsibility "as business leaders... is not to argue against the regulation.”

"We are not contesting 2035," said de Meo, who is also CEO of French carmaker Renault. "Now we must get down to it."

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A full fossil-fuel car ban in 2035 "is potentially feasible, but the right conditions must be put in place," he added.

Slowing demand growth for electric vehicles has upped the pressure on Europe's auto industry to cut costs and develop more affordable models as new Chinese rivals arrive with lower-cost models.

Automakers have argued repeatedly that more government subsidies and more ubiquitous charging infrastructure are needed to spur demand for EVs and encourage mass adoption.

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Writing by Nick Carey; Editing by Bill Berkrot)