Fuel Efficiency Rules In China Threaten American Gas Guzzler Sales

The Chinese government has not spelled out what will happen to vehicles that don't meet fuel efficiency standards.

Published: 19-Mar-2005

INKI, March 18 (Reuters) - Most American cars and half of European models do not meet new fuel consumption standards that China will introduce at mid-year, a European Commission official said on Friday.

But car industry officials played down any concerns that their sales in a crucial market might be at risk. "China plans to introduce next summer tough environmental norms. Eighty percent of U.S.-made cars would not fulfil these and 50 percent of European cars," Timo Makela, director of sustainable development and integration at the European Commission, told a seminar in Helsinki.

"For some reason, most of French cars would fulfil the demands," he said, adding his information came from industry sources.

Volkswagen <VOWG.DE>, Europe's biggest carmaker and market leader in China, said it was relaxed about the new norms for cars and light commercials vehicles to be launched in July and toughened in 2008.

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Chinese vehicles will be a threat to established U.S. auto sellers because vehicles from China are likely to be much cheaper than those from Europe, Japan or North America.

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