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Volkswagen faces EU fine for missing emissions targets

Volkswagen faces a fine of over 100 million euros ($121 million) for missing EU targets on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its 2020 passenger car fleet, the world’s largest automaker said on Thursday.

It reduces average CO2 emissions in the fleet in the European Union by around 20% to 99.8 g/km, but that was around 0.5 g/km above its target, the automaker said.

That implied EU fines amounting to a “very low triple-digit million amount,” a spokesman informed.

Worried about global warming, and also air pollution, European policymakers have clamped down on exhaust emissions, forcing automakers to spur development of low-emission technology or deal with a penalty of 95 euros per gram of excess CO2 they emit.

“We narrowly missed the fleet target for 2020, thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement, adding he hoped to meet the target this year as the automaker’s main brands bring out new electric models.

VW was helped closer to its target by a pooling system that permits automakers above their limit to pay competitors who are below.

Volkswagen is cutting the number of combustion-engined cars it provides and retooling more factories to build electric vehicles to try to keep up with electric automaker Tesla.

It has said the EU’s more stringent emissions targets will force it to increase the proportion of hybrid and electric vehicles in its European car sales to 60% by 2030, increasing from an earlier target of 40%.

Volkswagen confessed in 2015 to cheating emissions tests on diesel engines, a scandal that has cost it over 30 billion dollars in regulatory fines and vehicle refits, largely in the United States.

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