Volkswagen Group subsidiary`s legal attack on transport campaigners unjustified
Transport & Environment, a federation of sustainable transport campaign groups across Europe, strongly defends the contents of its latest report on car manufacturers' average CO2 emissions in the face of a legal attack against its Austrian member by Porsche Austria, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group (1).
Porsche Austria, the retailer of Volkswagen Group vehicles in Austria, claims, according to media reports, that the T&E study ‘How Clean are Europe’s Cars?’, published in November 2010, is ‘unreliable’ and ‘unscientific’ and has begun legal proceedings against VCÖ, T&E’s Austrian member organisation (2). The legal move followed VCÖ’s publication of the T&E report findings in Austria. VCÖ has been a respected and expert voice on sustainable transport issues in Austria for more than 20 years. The T&E report analysed European Commission data of sales and CO2 figures for new cars sold in Europe in 2009. The data analysis was carried out by AEA technology, a leading environmental consultancy, on the basis of publicly-available data collected by the European Commission (3). T&E strongly defends the credibility of the analysis. The report found that Volkswagen Group’s average CO2 emissions for new cars sold in 2009 were 153 g CO2/km, ranking the group 12th out of 14 major manufacturers. On the basis of progress made in 2009, the group was ranked 10th out of 14, having cut emissions by 4.1%. In the same year Toyota reduced emissions by 10%, by comparison.
Volkswagen Group’s sustainability report 2009-10 claims that the company is ‘committed to an ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders’ (4).
Jos Dings, director of Transport & Environment said: “The public, car buyers and investors have a right to know how Europe’s major manufacturer groups are responding to the twin challenges of climate change and high oil prices. This ongoing aggressive legal action by a Volkswagen Group company is bizarre and wrong and goes against the company’s own stated values. This lawsuit should be dropped immediately.”
Furthermore, T&E points out that its car manufacturer CO2 report has been published annually since 2006 but the organisation has never received any formal written communication from Volkswagen Group or its subsidiaries regarding any aspect of the reports, despite wide media coverage of the contents.
The findings of T&E’s reports have also been repeatedly confirmed by official EU car CO2 monitoring reports. (5) Other car manufacturers have quoted previous T&E car CO2 reports in advertising materials, in order to highlight positive progress.