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French, Italian, Japanese produce cleanest cars on European market

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French, Italian and Japanese car manufacturers made the most environmentally friendly automobiles for sale in Europe last year, a study released Thursday said.

The report, by an independent European group campaigning for cleaner modes of transport, said France's PSA Peugeot Citroen SA sold the lowest carbon dioxide-emitting fleet of cars in 2006. The company's cars emitted an average 142 grams of CO2 a kilometre.

Italy's Fiat SpA, which had a fleet average of 144 grams a kilometre, was No. 2 followed by France's Renault SA, with 147 grams.

Toyota Motor Corp., which is vying with U.S. giant General Motors Corp. for the title of world's largest automaker by sales this year, came in fourth with 153 grams a kilometre, while its rival GM came in sixth, with 163 grams a kilometre.

Germany's BMW AG, the world's biggest maker of luxury cars, and DiamlerChrysler AG, now called Daimler AG, had the highest polluting cars last year the study said, while other carmakers Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen AG and Honda Motor Co. ranked middle of the pack.

The report card was written by the Brussels-based European Federation for Transport and Environment, which is pushing EU governments to adopt new rules to impose strict CO2 limits on the auto industry.

Jos Dings, director of the federation, called on car manufacturers that scored lower to follow the lead of French and Italian carmakers to reduce the weight of automobiles, which it said helps in cutting emissions.

``The failure to cut the weight of cars is one of the principal reasons why CO2 emissions and fuel consumption are not going down,'' he said.

The automobile industry has said it is working hard to introduce greener cars but manufacturers from Europe, Japan and South Korea have said they are unlikely to meet a European target to reduce CO2 emissions to 140 kilometres a kilometre by the end of 2009.

The study gathered its emissions statistics from various compiled national and EU sources on 14 top carmakers that sold over 200,000 vehicles in Europe in 2006. Data analysis was carried out by the independent Institute for European Environmental Policy in London.

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French, Italian, Japanese produce cleanest cars on European market
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