European take-up of small cars drives down average CO2
According to the firm, the reduction has accelerated, compared with 2008, which saw CO2 emissions reduce by 5.4g/km. The majority of this decrease is being driven by shifts in buying habits towards smaller, low-CO2 cars, with the three lowest CO2 bands increasing market share, at the expense of bands above 140g/km. In particular, the 101-120g/km band experienced a market share gain of 8.9%, from 16.7% to 25.6%.
However, JATO says that the change in consumer behavior has also been guided by the popularity of small, low-CO2 emitting cars in national scrappage schemes, which heavily influenced European new car sales in 2009.
'The marked reduction in average CO2 emissions is a consequence of changing buying habits and in particular, the downsizing to smaller, more economical cars, driven by scrappage incentives and recessionary uncertainties,' commented David Di Girolamo, head of JATO Consult.
'This is accelerating the decreases made through the introduction of new, ever-more efficient models and technologies. The achievement here should not be under-estimated: car makers are offering models that are safer and more feature-rich, whilst still improving their environmental credentials.'
In terms of brand performance, JATO points out that the most improved brands overall are often low-volume exotic and supercar marques and indeed this year Ferrari leads the way, reducing volume-weighted CO2 emissions in the past year by 53.6g/km.
However, the second highest improver is Porsche, which has reduced its volume-weighted CO2 emissions by 27.5g/km, on 2009 sales of 32,960, a significant achievement against such a sales volume that is due in part to the introduction of the brand’s diesel engine, available in the Cayenne 4×4.
The best overall brand reduction was achieved by Alfa Romeo, which lowered emissions by 18.3g/km over the year, on sales of 109,542. Fiat remains the lowest overall volume brand for CO2, with an average of 127.8g/km, although Toyota has moved to a close second from fifth in 2008, largely due to the European market penetration of its Yaris models, displacing Citroen and Peugeot from their respective 2008 positions.
Looking at model performance, Toyota claimed the best individual model performance during 2009, with the Toyota Prius being the lowest CO2 model in Europe, with an average 2009 CO2 output of only 95.6g/km. However, the best volume model is its sister car, the Yaris, with an average CO2 of 119.0g/km, down 12.4g/km compared with 2008.
The results are encouraging in terms of vehicle manufacturer group performance. With over half of Europe’s new car volume now under the 2008 EU threshold of 140g/km, it is no surprise that the four out of the five lowest-CO2 manufacturer groups are all comfortably beating this target. Fiat Group remains at the top of the chart for low-CO2 motoring, but the gap to Toyota Group has dramatically reduced, with PSA and Renault close behind. All of these groups are now within sight of the EU target of 130g/km, which must be met by 2015.