The famed German carmaker Volkswagen faces an EU fine after falling short of targets for cutting its cars’ CO2 emissions.
Volkswagen announced on Thursday it had slashed average emissions for its fleets across Europe by about 20% over the past year compared with 2019.
That implied EU fines amounting to a “very low triple-digit million amount,” a spokesman said.
European policymakers have clamped down on exhaust emissions, forcing carmakers to spur development of low-emission technology or face 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,” CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement.
He also added that he hoped to meet the target this year as the company’s main brands bring out new electric models.
“We are making good progress on the road to becoming a CO2-neutral company, added Diess.
“The Volkswagen and Audi brands in particular have made a major contribution to achieving this with their e-offensive.”
The company said electric model production in the EU and Britain, Norway and Iceland had risen more than fourfold to 315,400 in 2020. Battery electric vehicles and hybrids rose to 9.7% of models, it said.
“The Volkswagen Group is thus the clear market leader in the all-electric segment in Western Europe,” it said, suggesting its vehicles made up around a quarter of the market.
The carmaker also admitted in 2015 to using illegal software in diesel cars which allowed it to cheat emissions tests.