BMW aims to reduce CO2 production by 20% in 2020

FRANKFURT: The German high-end automaker BMW aims to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by its cars sold in Europe by 20 percent this year, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

The promise comes when the new regulations of the European Union expire this year, which requires that automakers drastically reduce the emissions of the entire fleet under penalty of massive fines.

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We will achieve a 20 percent improvement in Europe only this year compared to 2019, said CEO Oliver Zipse during a speech in the city of Bochum in western Germany.

Manufacturers and experts agree that sales of electric and hybrid cars must increase tremendously for companies to reduce CO2 production below the threshold of 95 grams per kilometer on average.

In 2018, the new BMWs sold an average of 128 grams per kilometer. The company only forecast a slight decrease last year and has not yet published the final figures for 2019.

Slightly more generous limits for heavier cars might work in favor of the automaker, which tends to offer larger vehicles.

Ola Kallenius, executive director of Daimler, parent of Mercedes-Benz, said on Tuesday that the group’s adjusted CO2 target per kilometer was slightly north of 100 grams.

But BMW's longtime rival is not guaranteed to meet even that looser limit this year or next, he added.

On the contrary, Zipse said it is clear to the BMW group that we will achieve our goals.

A third of the carbon reductions would come from less polluting combustion engines, and two-thirds of electric vehicles, he added.

Zipse, who took over BMW of Harald Krueger in July, aims to raise EU electric and hybrid sales from 8.6 percent in 2019 to 25 percent next year, one third in 2025 and 50 percent one hundred in 2030.

Like other German manufacturers, the Munich-based company plans a large number of such models in the coming years.

But automotive companies must combat the high initial costs of research and development at the same time as a wider economic slowdown, and many resort to job cuts to reduce costs.