The German group is expected to be able to meet the EU’s CO2 emission limits this year, and probably not next year, which could lead to billions in sanctions.

According to EU regulations, car manufacturers will have to achieve average CO2 emissions of less than 95 grams per kilometer with their entire model range by 2020. If this is not met, the manufacturer must pay a fine of € 95 per extra gram per car. This danger now poses a threat to the German manufacturer, to which it should be added that Volkswagen sold 3.8 million cars in Europe last year, for example.

Herbert Diess, the group’s CEO, has previously stated that meeting EU emission limits will not be an easy task. At the beginning of November he spoke of a backlog of ‘about a gram’. “We have not given up yet, but it will not be easy to meet this year’s fleet targets,” said the Wirtschaftswoche in a recent interview.

Although Volkswagen introduced new electric models towards the end of the year, they were launched in relatively small numbers, so they cannot offset the relatively high CO2 emissions of popular SUVs and large limousine models. Herbert Diess acknowledged that Volkswagen had started the transition to electric mobility “relatively late”, but would spend € 35 billion by 2025 to develop the technology and build production.

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From now on, a national authority can fine a car manufacturer up to € 30,000 per car if it violates type-approval legislation, for example if the actual emissions of the car are higher than permitted.

As he said, he agrees in principle with the European Commission’s course of reducing emissions, but that requires massive investment. “If Brussels demands a faster pace from us, then unfortunately I have to say that the pace of the transition cannot be significantly accelerated until 2025 because there are simply not enough batteries for it, but between 2025 and 2030 it will,” he said.

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