Peugeot is Europe's Green Champion

French automaker PSA Peugeot-Citroen builds the cleanest cars in Europe, according to an environmental group called Transport and Environment (T&E). Italy’s Fiat is No. 2, followed by Renault, Toyota and Honda. Premium German automakers BMW and Daimler, no surprise, were at the bottom of the list, and VW ranked No. 9.

T&E tested each automaker’s 2006 fleet emissions. PSA came in No. 1 with an average 142 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Toyota ranked fourth overall, with 153 grams C02/kilometer. Daimler was the worst in the lineup, emitting an average 188 grams per kilometer. The European Union has proposed that all European automakers bring their emissions down to an average 120 g/km by 2015 — a level the German automakers complain is unrealistic.

Of course, PSA, Fiat and Renault have an advantage — they produce mostly small cars, which have better gas mileage. So far, however, PSA’s green credentials haven’t boosted sales. The French automaker’s vehicle sales in Europe were up only a fraction at 0.3% for 2007. Fiat posted a 6.7% gain — while BMW was up 6.4%.

The study noted that even if BMW was a laggard in the 2006 ranking, it had made big gains in reducing its CO2 emissions of late — and that the launch of the new Mini which is equipped with a much cleaner engine than its predecessor, should help BMW move up the rankings in 2007. Sales of the new Mini are up 25% over the first 10 months of 2006. BMW and Daimler have little choice but to engineer cars with power AND low emissions, to defend their premium brand image.

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