Europe’s proposed emissions laws could put an end to cars like the Polo, with Volkswagen admitting compliance would be more expensive than just switching to an electric model.
The future of the Volkswagen Polo is in doubt after the proposal of much stricter emissions laws in Europe.
Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfer has revealed that ‘Euro 7’ emissions legislation could potentially increase the cost of the Polo by as much as £5000 ($AU$8900), making the model unprofitable.
Speaking to reporters at the Los Angeles Motor Show, Mr Schäfer said engineers from the car company are currently going through the proposed legislation to determine whether it is economically feasible to continue models like the Polo, according to the UK car car.
Euro 7, due to come into force in 2025, will mandate the capping of nitrogen oxide emissions from all cars and require vehicles to meet emissions standards for up to 10 years (or 200,000 km).
New cars are also required to have on-board emissions monitoring systems, with the European Commission estimating the changes will increase the cost of new cars by between $140 and $230.
Mr Schaefer disputed the Commission’s modeling and suggested it would cost at least £3000 (AU$5340) to implement the required changes.
“We had a very good plan where we thought Euro 7 would be an insurmountable hurdle that will speed up electrification,” Mr Schäfer told media last week, as reported by car car.
“We have planned small electric cars that will come in 2025 between Volkswagen, Skoda and Cupra and will be built in Spain. And that basically replaces the internal combustion engine in small vehicles like the Polo because cars are getting so expensive [with Euro 7 laws]there’s no point in going on.”
“Then word got around two or three weeks ago that Euro 7 would come through and be at a reasonable level. And we thought, okay, let’s go, that might help us a bit with the transition [by keeping models like the Polo on sale]it doesn’t change the plans, but it does help financially because you can switch a little easier and at the same time reinvest anywhere.
Mr Schaefer said his team learned of the scope of the legislation last week and is now not confident that petrol and diesel-powered small cars like the Polo will be able to continue driving from 2025.
“It makes no sense to go beyond Euro 7 with very small cars. It will drive up the price of small cars by £3000, £4000 or £5000 or more, then suddenly a small vehicle becomes unaffordable.”
The Volkswagen boss said his engineers needed a further fortnight to assess the legislation and its impact, but hinted the company could end its investments in petrol and diesel engine development early.
It’s currently not clear if the Volkswagen Polo will continue to be made for markets outside of Europe, such as Australia, where emissions laws aren’t as strict.
The German car giant is still aiming to launch its ID.2 small electric car for less than €25,000 (AU$40,000), but Mr Schäfer said there were plans to develop an electric car that would cost less than €1 would be sold for 20,000 (AU$31,000) – a target which could be accelerated thanks to Euro 7.
“The reality is that we have to get something under the 20,000 euro mark,” said Schäfer.
“But that’s not confirmed yet. We have confirmed ID.2, but the team is now working on ideas. So now we come to the area below [€20,000], to be honest, we didn’t find the solution to the battery cost. There’s a reason both manufacturers make cars from big to small and not work their way down the inch.”
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