February 26. 2024. 6:50

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Iveco CEO says Euro 7 vehicle emissions regulation is ‘plain stupid’


The CEO of Italian truck and bus maker Iveco has condemned as “plain stupid” the Euro 7 standards which tighten vehicle emission limits for pollutants including nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide in the European Union from 2025.

Iveco Group’s Gerrit Marx said the regulation as currently drafted by the EU required cuts in emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulates which are “technically unfeasible”. “The effort to get there is huge. And there is no real payback,” he said.

EU countries and lawmakers are due to negotiate the proposed legislation, which is designed to apply to cars and vans from July 1, 2025 and to buses and trucks two years later, this year.

Separately, the EU Commission has proposed tougher CO2 limits for heavy goods vehicles, requiring new trucks to cut emissions by 90% by 2040 and all new city buses to have zero emissions from 2030.

Marx said if truck and bus makers have to reduce emissions so sharply to meet that legislation, it does not make sense to also have Euro 7 rules imposing tight limits on current engines, requiring sizeable investments, in the short term.

“On our commercial vehicle side, what is not correct is to give us such a tight Euro 7 and at the same time very tight CO2 (regulation),” he said.

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Marx, who is German, added the new Euro 7 standards were “complete nonsense”, rooted in the “dysfunctional political system” of the 27-nation bloc in which different commissioners with different political agendas were pushing for laws which often conflict.

He said it had become acceptable in Brussels to bash the automotive industry following the diesel scandal.

Iveco is assessing long-term decarbonisation options, with plain electrification not seen as a suitable technology for businesses including long-haul heavy-duty trucks or buses.

Marx said it was reasonable that in the long term the era of combustion engines would come to an end, “but the way it is now forced on the industry is not correct”.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has also labelled as “useless” the part of the Euro 7 standards tightening combustion engine car emission limits, while European auto lobby group ACEA said they would raise new car prices without bringing the intended environmental benefits.

Transformational

Marx said Iveco, which spun off from former parent CNH Industrial and separately listed at the beginning of 2022, had entered its “transformational second year”.

“We are going to shape our group. We will focus on some parts of our business more and we will de-focus on some others,” he said, adding decisions would be based on return on investments, funding capacity and future growth potential.

Iveco is controlled by Exor, the holding company of Italy’s Agnelli family.

“Over the course of 2023 and 2024, here and there we might engage in buying a company and we might consider selling one or another piece of Iveco Group,” Marx said in an interview in English.

However he ruled out selling its defence unit. “There is not a single moment where we talk about a divestiture or selling of defence,” he said.

Euro 7 accused of deadly sins

After being delayed again and again, the Euro 7 vehicle pollution standards were released on Thursday (10 November) in what will likely be the final air quality regulation for petrol and diesel cars.