Are the Germans OEMs right to be worried?

Welcome to the first newsletter from Emissions Analytics. Each month we will send industry insights based on our real-world fuel economy and emissions data, comment on sector news or simply update you on what we have been doing. We hope you find this useful and informative but if you would like to suggest ways in which we could improve it please email

No. 1
October 2013

Why are the Germans trying push back 
CO2 targets to 2024?

In recent weeks much has been made in the press of Germany’s move to block tougher EU emissions rules for cars. Following heavy lobbying from the Germans, member states have agreed to look at tweaking the new legislation which is due to come into force in 2020.

The proposal seeks to cap CO2 emissions at a fleet average of 95 grams per kilometre. The German manufacturers, who apparently produce heavier, less fuel efficient cars, are concerned they will find this challenging to achieve by 2020.

Using Emissions Analytics’ database of new car tailpipe emissions recorded in real-world tests, we decided to look at whether the big German car manufacturers – Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen 
 really do have something to be worried about.

Using a portable emissions measurement system, Emissions Analytics conducts a two-hour test drive of most new passenger cars released on the market. The route encompasses a wide range of driving conditions including different levels of congestion and a range of speeds, accelerations and braking. The data is gathered second-by-second and the result is a figure for CO2 and MPG which is representative of real driving over a combined cycle of urban and extra urban routes.

Of the 350 cars tested to date, representing around 90 per cent of new cars sold in the UK, CO2 emissions are an average of 24 per cent higher than official figures. Some cars perform better than others, although only two per cent meet or improve on their official figures and the worst offender is over 70 per cent higher than claimed. The German OEMs perform slightly better than average on 
CO2, but are still 22 per cent above their statutory figures.

When you look at the individual manufacturers, Porsche stands out as being closest to its official figures with a premium of only 5 per cent. However, when examining the passenger car data as a whole, it is the larger engine cars which come closest to their claims. Perhaps because fuel efficiency is not a factor affecting purchasing decisions for performance cars, the necessity to optimise the New European Drive Cycle is not as crucial.

Looked at in these terms it would appear that while the German-manufacturers are exceeding their official figures, so is nearly everyone else, so it is hardly cause for undue concern. However, when you look at CO2 in absolute terms, that is grams per kilometre, you can perhaps see why they are worried.

g/km Audi BMW Mercedes Porsche Volkswagen Average
Diesel 155 158 173 190 157 161
Petrol 205 204 228 n/a 179 190
Average 172 166 177 190 167 170
The average for the German-manufactured cars tested in the real world is 170g/km, not far off double what the new targets will require. And, if the NEDC is replaced in the near future with a more stringent type approval process you can see why the manufacturers might be concerned.

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