Europe’s CO2 cuts will threaten jobs, says PSA CEO

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The EU’s plans to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from vehicles and push automakers to go electric will risk 13 million jobs in Europe’s auto industry and benefit Asia, the CEO of French automaker PSA informed Le Figaro.

The European Parliament and EU countries struck an agreement in December to slash emissions from cars by 37.5 percent by 2030, compared with 2021, and about 31 percent from vans.

“This jeopardizes the jobs of 13 million people in the industry and could destabilize some of our European societies,” stated PSA’s CEO Carlos Tavares, who also heads the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), during an interview with Le Figaro newspaper.

Tavares welcomed Franco-German strategies to increase Europe’s electric car battery industry and to decrease EU automakers’ dependence on Asian competitors by building two new battery factories.

However, he said that big players like Bosch have studied the project and considered it was not generating profit. He stated PSA had also looked into it, but the initial capital costs were high and localizing the battery industry may be hard within present European Union regulatory constraints.

“If European automakers do not sell enough electric vehicles by 2020, 2025 and 2030, they will be ruined by fines. This forces us to reserve major volumes of batteries with Asian suppliers, who are awaiting us with a big smile,” he stated.

Tavares stated that when he arrived at PSA in 2013, the Chinese market was viewed as the company’s last hope, but now the automaker now does 80 percent of its sales in Europe.

China is a very difficult market for PSA, Tavares stated, adding that the automaker is having hard time to understand the market, customer expectations and the way of thinking of its state-owned partners.

“The decision mechanisms in our joint ventures are intolerably slow,” he stated.

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