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Peugeot CEO warns over new EU carbon emissions rules at Geneva Motor Show

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
The new Peugeot 208 GT is displayed at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The European Union’s looming new rules on car emissions are not sinking in with carmakers, according to Peugeot (UG.PA) brand chief executive Jean-Philippe Imparato. 

Imparato warned today of the monumental challenge for the automotive industry to lower their emissions to 95g of CO2 per kilometre from January 2020, or face steep fines. “The average European emission now is 125g, in the coming six months, 125g will become 95g,” he told a press round table at the Geneva motor show. “If you are not at this level you are dead.”

“I’m not totally sure the Geneva Motor Show ecosystem is entirely aware of the fact that we need to cut 30g in the coming six months,” Imparato said.

Carlos Tavares, chief executive of PSA which owns Peugeot, told Le Figaro on Sunday that the new emissions limits could jeopardise 13 million jobs in the European car industry, as, among other challenges, automakers won’t be able to sell enough electric cars to meet the CO2 limits and get slapped with fines.  

“You don’t cope with this type of trajectory without any collateral effect,” Imparato said of the switch to electrification, noting that making fewer internal combustion cars means cutting suppliers and reducing distribution costs to preserve car company margins.  

Each and every gram counts in the weight of the car when it comes to the emissions, he said, adding, “I have a sensation that today, in Geneva, carmakers are not aware of that.”

For decades, country managers used to have three targets to hit — customer satisfaction, market share, and profit — now Imparato says CO2 emissions will be a fourth permanent target for them. 

Peugeot revealed its brand new battery-electric Peugeot e-208 hatchback and Peugeot Sport Engineered 508 Concept at the show today. The company, like all its mass-market European rivals, is racing to electrify, and the e-208 will go into production later this year. From now on, all of the new models Peugeot introduces will have a battery-electric variant available.

The new 208 will also be available as petrol and diesel options, and go up against its arch-enemy, the new Renault Clio, also having its debut in Geneva this week. 

The PSA group announced last month that it was gearing up to reenter the US and Canadian markets after a nearly 30-year hiatus, aiming for a 50% increase in sales outside Europe by 2021; right now it sells about 80% of its cars in Europe. The PSA chief executive told Le Figaro that the PSA group has struggled to break the Chinese market so far.