Toyota, Fiat and MINI are leading the way in Europe's moves to reduce its CO2 emissions. With a new average target of 130g/km being set across manufacturer's model lineups for 2012, the trio are already well ahead of the mark on 124.55 g/km, 124.61 g/km and 129.98 g/km respectively.
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Hyundai is also very close to meeting the target, still two years away, with an average CO2 figure across its range of 131.02g/km.

Publisher of UK magazine Clean Green Cars, Jay Nagley says although the move is a positive step forward, many manufacturers still have a way to go.

“We are now seeing real progress by some mainstream car manufacturers on CO2, but there are still wide variations in performance.” said Mr Nagley.

Vehicle manufacturers refer to the rate of descent required to meet the new target as their “glidepath”, but Mr Nagley says mainstream manufacturers with a current average much over 140g/km are going to have to work very hard on their glidepath if they are to get their average down within the required time frame.

Presently, the European manufacturer with the most work to do is Mercedes-Benz with an average of 173.83g/km - 20g/km higher than either Audi or BMW.

On average, the industry CO2 emissions rate is falling at 5 per cent a year. In Q1 of this year, the figure fell 5.39 per cent on the same period last year.

In the UK, much of the recent gains are being attributed to government's vehicle scrappage incentives that have removed many older vehicles from the road, leading people to buyer smaller, more economical cars.

Year-on-year CO2 reductions:

  • 2009 Q1 average: 153.90g/km
  • 2010 Q1 average: 145.61g/km