EU: Car manufacturers may agree to share the cost of recycling

European car manufacturers continue to resist EU proposals to charge them with recycling end of life vehicles (ELV) produced prior to 2006, but they may support a bid to share the cost of recycling newer cars with dealers and owners.

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) has particularly resisted two aspects of the EU proposed directive on ELVs (see related story) – the provision that manufacturers must bear the costs of recycling ELVs and the retroactive component that would see cars produced prior to 2006 being applicable.

Now, a suggestion from the European Parliament’s rapporteur on the ELV, Karl-Heinz Florenz, that the directive be amended to share the costs of ELV recycling may result in a change in ACEA’s position.

Florenz has proposed a system whereby producers, dealers and vehicle owners would share the cost of ELV recycling, with producers responsible for about a third. “My guess is that it would be a more equitable sharing of the financial burden,” an ACEA spokesperson told edie. Speculating on the future of the ELV directive, the spokesperson said that “to a certain extent, MEPs are not in support of the European Commission’s common position.”

Whether or not a deal is struck allowing vehicle producers to be responsible for less than 100% of ELV recycling, ACEA remains opposed to the proposed directive’s retroactivity. This would see ELV recycling applying to cars produced before the directive comes into force in 2006.

“Retroactive application is a legal precedent and brings an element of unpredictability into the industry,” said the ACEA spokesperson. In addition to setting a legal precedent that would allow the introduction of future retroactive directives, ACEA believes that if the ELV directive is passed with its retroactive component intact it could lead to “technical bankruptcy in certain companies”.

ACEA estimates the “financial risk for the industry” of the ELV proposed directive in its current state at 13.2Billion euros. According to an ENDs Daily report, some EC officials believe ACEA is overestimating the average cost of ELV recycling. An ACEA spokesperson told edie that most manufacturers have estimated the cost of recycling vehicles at 153-205 euros (300-400Dm) per vehicle. ENDs cites an EC official who estimates the average recycling cost at 80 euros or less per vehicle.

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