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欧洲2020年起力推全电动汽车,车企处境可能更加艰难

Christiaan Hetzner 2020年01月07日

欧洲汽车行业真有可能无法实现强制性的车辆排放目标,而且面临着高达数亿欧元的罚款。

2020年可能会是欧洲汽车制造商的转折点。严格的二氧化碳排放目标将开始分阶段执行,但恰恰在此时走到了十字路口的汽车行业依然在坎坷地从污染型柴油和汽油引擎向电动转型。

新二氧化碳排放规定将让转型更加难以捉摸。与以往不同的是,欧洲汽车行业真的很有可能无法实现其强制性的欧洲车辆排放目标,而且有可能面临着高达数亿欧元的巨额罚款。

这一现象也为汽车行业前景蒙上了阴影。汽车制造商通常会根据所有趋势数据和消费特征来设定生产和销售目标。此外,他们也会留意像就业和薪资增长这些宏观因素,但这些在欧洲来说都属于确定因素,因为欧元区预计在2020年增速预计为羸弱的1.2%。有鉴于即将实施的二氧化碳合规标准,有一件事是肯定的——各大汽车制造商将怀念2019年的美好时光。

普华永道Autofacts部门的全球首席分析师克里斯托弗·斯特姆向《财富》杂志透露:“从2020年1月开始,销售梅赛德斯AMG或12缸汽车将受到罚款,因此汽车制造商现在便已经为这些车上了牌照,这样便不会拖累其2020年的二氧化碳排放目标。预计销量将在12月飞涨。”他在去年12月说:“这可能是欧洲有史以来生意最好的保时捷销售月。”

重型越野车的上牌,例如宝马X5,在过去两个月中每月的销量增速均高于40%,而跑车销量在去年10月跃升了67%,原因在于汽车制造商急于确保其大排量车型能够在去年12月31日之前上牌。整个欧洲均出现了类似的趋势。欧洲汽车制造商协会于去年12月17日报道称,在过去三个月,欧洲新车注册出现了飙升。

然而,这个好景可能不会长远。通过提前释放需求来清理其高污染车型库存,汽车制造商可能已经为今年1月销售额的暴跌埋下了伏笔。

汽车行业协会VDA的负责人伯纳德·马蒂斯称:“二氧化碳排放规定为2020年的汽车行业蒙上了阴影。”该协会预测,欧洲2020年的汽车销售额将因为预期的宿醉效应出现2%的降幅。

合规之痛……

有鉴于道路运输排放的温室气体占欧洲总量的五分之一,布鲁塞尔正在严厉打击轿车、货车和卡车的碳排放。更糟糕的是,它依然是经济中那个一直都没能将其碳印记降至其1990基准水平的行业。

因此,汽车制造商将被迫在2021年前将其车辆的二氧化碳印记从2018年的120.4克/公里降至平均95克/公里,不过,该规定只会影响路面上的一小部分车辆。电动和混动汽车依然只不过是整个欧洲汽车市场不起眼的小角色。此外,尽管某些国家提供了丰厚的补贴,而且存在稳健的需求,但电动和混动汽车也不大可能在近期帮助汽车制造商实现其排放目标。

由于合规基本都靠汽车制造商来完成(而不是消费者),很多汽车制造商不得不采取一些激进的措施。一位资深行业游说人士向《财富》透露:“我们不时听到,一些汽车制造商已经为其经销商分配了其自有的二氧化碳车辆具体排放目标,并对激励结构进行了相应调整。”

这仅仅是个开始:布鲁塞尔已经提出了进一步的强制性限令,2030年达到约60克/公里,但即便如此,这一标准也有可能进一步收紧。委员会新总裁乌尔苏拉·冯德莱恩于去年12月初公布了一项计划,旨在建议欧洲议会和会员国家在2021年6月之前对这一额外的37.5%碳排放削减幅度进行上调。

汽车行业的前景也并不乐观。该行业用了6年的时间才将二氧化碳平均排放量减少了22克/公里。如今,他们依然需要实现类似的降幅,但剩余的时间却只有两年。不幸的是,碳排放趋势如今还出现了反转,车辆排放量在过去两年中一直在增加。戴姆勒如今预计,公司2020年仅在二氧化碳排放合规方面就得花费10多亿欧元。

有消息称,正是因为如此,汽车制造商打算将低排放量车辆的交付日期推迟数周,以确保这些车辆的上牌能够为2020年目标的实现提供助力。

首款保时捷Taycan电动跑车在去年12月交付给美国客户,但欧洲客户要到今年1月才能拿到新车。通过这种方式,每一方都能保证履行母公司大众的二氧化碳减排目标。

工业研究公司LMC Automotive在一篇研究纪要中写道:“我们已经开始看到,有鉴于即将实施的监管规定,汽车制造商正在利用季节来做文章。”

外界预计,西欧市场去年第四季度的销量将较以往增长7.5%;到了2020年,销量可能会降至“令人沮丧”的1%。

……前途并非一片渺茫

欧元区的经济基本面实际上能够为2020年稳健的需求提供支持。去年第三季度,消费者信心高于历史平均水平,通胀调整后的薪资增速依然没有放缓的迹象,去年10月的失业率为7.5%,创2008年7月以来的新低。欧盟的整体失业率依然低于2000年1月欧盟有记录以来的水平。

然而,德国经销商预计私人零售客户在2020年的汽车销量将成为重灾区,至少与企业购车者相比是这样。他们预测汽车市场零售领域的降幅将高达18%,因为汽车制造商可能会人为限制其热卖SUV车型的出货量,以确保能够符合欧盟碳排放上限的规定。

斯德莫说:“通常影响汽车销量的两大因素为失业率和利率。但在了解这两大因素之后,我们发现人们在2020年没有理由不去买车。唯一可能会让人们对购车感到犹豫的事情在于,他们无法买到自己心仪的车型,原因可能是因为OEM厂商无法或不愿提供这些车型。”

换句话说,保时捷经销商在2020年将不得不劝说消费者:忘了保时捷911吧,不妨试驾一下Taycan车型。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校:夏林

 

This year could be a watershed moment for Europe’s automakers. Strict carbon dioxide emission targets are being phased in just at a time when the sector is at a crossroads as it continues on its bumpy ride away from polluting diesel and petrol engines towards electric.

The new CO2 rules will make the transition all the trickier. Never before has the industry faced the very real possibility of flunking its mandated European fleet emission target, risking enormous fines that could run into the hundreds of millions of euros.

It's also muddying the outlook. Automakers typically set production and sales goals against all kinds of trend data and consumption patterns. Plus, they look at macro factors such as employment and wage growth, which in Europe is anything but certain with the euro area expected to grow a meager 1.2 percent in 2020. Add to it looming CO2 compliance standards and there's only one thing anyone can agree upon—carmakers are going to be longing for the good ol’ days of 2019.

“Selling a Mercedes AMG, or a 12-cylinder car is going to be punished starting from January so carmakers are getting them number plates now in order not to wreck their CO2 in 2020. Expect a crazy December,” Christoph Stürmer, Global Lead Analyst at PwC Autofacts, told Fortune. “It could be one of the strongest Porsche months ever in Europe,” he said of December.

Registrations of heavy off-road vehicles like a BMW X5 have already surged 40 percent or more in Germany in each of the past two months while sports cars jumped 67 percent in last October, as automakers rushed to ensure the worst of its gas guzzlers are registered before December 31st. A similar trend can be seen across Europe. There has been a surge in new vehicle registrations across Europe in the past three months, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association reported on December 17.

A reckoning could be just around the corner, however. By pulling forward demand to clear out inventories of their biggest polluters, automakers could be sewing the seeds of a sales slump come January.

“The CO2 regulations are casting their shadow on 2020,” said Bernhard Mattes, head of the country’s auto industry association VDA. It is forecasting a drop in vehicle sales of 2 percent in Europe this year due to the expected hangover.

Compliance headaches...

Brussels is cracking down hard on carbon emissions from cars, vans and trucks, since road transport accounts for one-fifth of all greenhouse gases in the EU. Worse, it remains the one sector of the economy that has consistently failed to lower its carbon footprint over benchmark 1990 levels.

Carmakers will therefore be required to reduce their fleet’s CO2 footprint to an average of 95 grams per kilometer by 2021 from 120.4 g/km recorded for 2018, even though this affects only a small portion of vehicles on the road. Electric and hybrid-electric vehicles are still a tiny sliver of the overall European car market, and, despite generous subsidies available in certain countries and healthy demand, are unlikely to help automakers meet their emissions goals any time soon.

Since compliance falls heavily on the manufacturers (rather than consumers) many automakers have had to take some drastic measures. “We’ve been hearing that some carmakers have assigned their dealers their own specific CO2 fleet emissions target and changed the incentive structure accordingly,” a senior industry lobbyist told Fortune.

This is only the beginning: Brussels has mandated a further limit of roughly 60 g/km for 2030 and even that might be tightened. New Commission President Ursula von der Leyen revealed last week plans to propose to the EU Parliament and member states an upward revision by June 2021 of this additional 37.5 percent reduction.

The outlook isn’t looking good, either. It took six full years to lower CO2 by 22 g/km on average. Now they have just one-third of that time to achieve a similar reduction. Unfortunately the trend has reversed, and fleet emissions have been on the rise for the past two years. Daimler now expects it will incur costs of over 1 billion euros next year alone on CO2 compliance.

Anecdotal evidence suggest manufacturers are therefore attempting to delay delivery of low emitting vehicles to customers by several weeks to ensure their registration is counted towards next year’s targets.

The first Porsche Taycan electric sports cars will be delivered for U.S. customers on last December, but Europeans won’t get them until January. That way each is guaranteed to count towards the CO2 fleet target of parent company Volkswagen.

“We are already starting to see seasonal distortion coming into play as a result of impending regulatory hurdles,” wrote industry research firm LMC Automotive in a research note.

It estimates the western European market will be 7.5 percentage points stronger in the fourth quarter than it otherwise would have been; for 2020, volumes could slide a “rather disappointing” 1 percent.

...And yet positive road signs

Economic fundamentals for the euro area actually support solid demand next year. Consumer confidence is above its historical average, wage growth adjusted for inflation continued at a brisk pace in the third quarter and unemployment reached 7.5 percent in October, a low not seen since July, 2008. Overall Joblessness throughout the entire EU remained beneath the January 2000 level when records began.

And yet, dealers in Germany expect volumes from private retail customers to be particularly affected next year—at least compared with corporate car buyers. They forecast a hefty 18 percent decline for this retail segment of the market as carmakers may artificially limit availability of their popular SUV models to ensure compliance with EU caps.

“Usually the two limiting factors for car sales are unemployment and interest rates. And looking at those, there’s no reason for people not to buy cars next year,” said Stürmer. “The only thing that could actually keep people from doing so is that they can’t get what they want, either because the OEMs cannot, or will not supply them.”

In other words, Porsche dealers in 2020 will be putting the hard sell on customers to forget Porsche 911s and instead give the Taycan a test-drive.

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