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2021 FCAI Australian car CO2 report: Slight reductions, behind target

With no government-led CO2 scheme, the car industry has its own. While the 2030 target is what matters, most brands are behind their goal.

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello
News Editor
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A majority of Australia’s car brands failed to hit their voluntary specific CO2 emissions targets in 2021, though passenger vehicles as a whole are ahead of the reduction curve.

The average listed CO2 emissions of vehicles belonging to the scheme’s so-called MA category (passenger vehicles and so-called light-duty SUVs) was 146.5 grams per kilometre, down from 149.5g/km in 2020 and ahead of the specific 2021 target average of 150g/km.

But vehicles in the MC+NA category (light commercials and heavy SUVs) missed their target by a big margin, averaging 212.5g/km against a target of 193g/km. On the positive side, the average for 2021 did fall from 2020’s average of 216.7g/km.

However, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), which oversees the brands’ self-imposed scheme, says it’s the final 2030 emissions target that matters, with annual inconsistencies on the way to be expected.

The FCAI’s targeted reduction between 2020 and 2030 is to get MA vehicles down to 100g/km and MC+NA vehicles to 145g/km. It says brands will progress at different rates, depending on their model cycles, and the lack of legal teeth means this will remain a factor.

The FCAI is the peak body for the car-makers, and really has its own progressive and self-imposed CO2 reduction targets in place to set a template – because it wants the government to enforce just such a scheme with penalties, and thereby incentivise brand head offices overseas to send more low-emission vehicles our way.

“If we don’t have that legislation in the market, then they’re [HQ in Europe] going to prioritise the markets that have got it, to avoid very significant fines. It changes the game completely, it really does,” Volkswagen Group Australia chief Paul Sansom told CarExpert recently.

MORE: Australian car industry keeps calling for new government-backed CO2 targets

Market-leader Toyota led the field in the passenger car and light SUV category thanks to its hybrid dominance, but failed to comply with its 2021 target when it came to its heavy 4x4s and commercials.

The annual FCAI emissions report collates each member brand’s CO2 outputs on a complicated sales-weighted average mass per unit basis, with various full-forward credits outlined in the methodology explaining why the average output per car looks lower than what the ADR claims suggest.

For example, Toyota’s overall market-leading MA category CO2 average per vehicle of 96.7g/km would suggest it sold entirely Corolla Hybrids, ignoring the thirstier models it offered too.

If you want the full detail on how the scheme is created and measured, this deep-dive here should help. It’s quite a challenging read…

The FCAI counters by saying the complex mathematical measurements are designed to be broadly similar in method to those used by the European Environment Agency, as well as the scheme used in the USA – though lower EV take-up here means the actual targets are higher.

These targets are in no way legally binding or enforceable anywhere beyond the court of public opinion, until there’s actual legislation around them.

“Globally automotive manufacturers continue to spend billions of dollars on reducing the environmental impact of their vehicles. In the absence of a federally led emissions reduction target, FCAI members have signed up to this Standard to support the introduction of the cleanest technologies to Australia’s road,” said FCAI CEO Tony Weber.

MA category

BrandSalesAverage CO2Target
Alfa Romeo617145.554153.163
Alpine28146.000120.487
Audi15,810157.710163.355
BMW19,827160.665163.785
Chrysler168300.478194.817
Citroen180142.128134.075
Ferrari189254.676162.219
Fiat736115.368112.697
Ford9718192.314158.428
Genesis734238.77191.735
GWM9676185.493150.752
Honda17,563159.856146.030
Hyundai69,815163.696145.677
Isuzu Ute2789209.370193.538
Jaguar1221164.746175.244
Jeep821201.379164.639
Kia67,694159.682148.027
Lamborghini131328.931177.965
Land Rover2409191.278183.806
LDV1597254.944200.536
Lexus8990135.306175.271
Maserati560240.132192.71
Mazda82,711155.713151.803
Mercedes-Benz Cars27,807165.205177.484
Mercedes-Benz Vans588158.378224.029
MG39,534143.662136.392
Mini3541105.524139.885
Mitsubishi37,670160.094147.28
Nissan22,524166.354151.124
Peugeot2258144.096141.531
Porsche3599136.107179.619
Renault2892175.398151.002
Skoda9172141.168147.925
SsangYong353177.008150.131
Subaru14,769162.575148.656
Suzuki14,612125.465115.582
Toyota100,44896.731151.871
Volkswagen29,623144.741151.701
Volvo Car5671132.073179.433
Green text symbolises a brand is ahead of target

MC+NA category

BrandSalesAverage CO2Target
Audi192173.682205.799
BMW5,049170.970174.865
Chevrolet2108297.000233.134
Ford60,234211.617209.358
GWM8697243.756193.987
Hyundai3057219.348189.711
Isuzu Ute32,927207.868193.980
Jeep6883224.546204.980
Land Rover4044207.342212.856
LDV11,607244.053191.524
Lexus300301.516249.392
Mazda18,408205.417189.806
Mercedes-Benz Cars594295.143237.707
Mercedes-Benz Vans1017174.678194.857
Mitsubishi30,067219.770190.520
Nissan18,279228.443206.865
Peugeot516150.456159.365
Porsche833185.960202.242
Ram3819278.683239.659
Renault2825164.525167.485
SsangYong2628226.615206.646
Subaru22,252156.066165.422
Suzuki2856151.996124.942
Toyota120,517216.544204.911
Volkswagen10,078223.061188.446
Volvo Car3357169.435179.900

MORE: Emissions targets explained: Q&A with FCAI chief executive Tony Weber

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello
Mike Costello is the News Editor at CarExpert.
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