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European Commissioner: ‘The car industry can no longer bend the rules’

European Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska says that she will no longer accept the present attitude of the car industry and the way consumers are being misled.

She gave a speech at an event organized by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) in Brussels, where she was very clear on the role of the industry in the emissions scandal.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska criticized the car industry for selling cars that consume up to 40% more fuel than indicated, with emission control that is switched off if the temperature drops below 17 degrees Celsius. The denial of the present crisis will lead to serious damage to the car sector as well.

The car industry should start planning for the future. There is a shift in consumer preferences to new developments like car-sharing schemes and ride-hailing apps. There is also the climate change. There is the change of the cars themselves to automated and autonomous driving, connected cars and alternative power trains. And there is a shift from mature to emerging markets with new competitors.

Ms. Bieńkowska told the industry that adapting is the answer to the present situation and the challenges we are confronted with. The European industry has advantages that should be used. The car industry has to move to zero emission vehicles, without sacrificing technology neutrality and without sacrificing profits or growth.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska explained that “the current work on emissions is an opportunity to make a radical overhaul that will put the European industry ahead of their competitors”. But they will have to do that themselves, the European Commission will not do it for them. By planning and acting ahead, the European car industry can lead the world on decarbonisation and autonomous and connected driving, according to the commissioner.

To read the speech by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, click here.

dolf_180225FEMA General Secretary Dolf Willigers comments:I am very happy with this speech. The message of Ms. Elżbieta Bieńkowska not only applies to the car industry.  The motorcycle industry may not have seen scandals like the Volkswagen emission fraud, but just like the car industry it ignores the need for change. Consumers are just badly or even incorrectly informed when they want to buy a motorcycle. Motorcycles need to be cleaner and need to use less fuel quickly if riders and motorcycle manufacturers want to successfully claim a position for the motorcycle and other powered two-wheelers in future mobility, especially in urban mobility. The motorcycle industry needs to change gears just as well as the car industry”.

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska is responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. She has been a commissioner since 2014.