Fiat can claim to be the greenest car manufacturer of 2010 so far after its range of cars were found to have the lowest average CO2 emissions in Europe.
The Italian car-maker’s cars recorded average CO2 emissions of just 123.5g/km - 4.3g/km less than the same point last year – to finish ahead of hybrid experts Toyota.
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Despite the likes of the Prius plug-in hybrid being boasting the lowest CO2 emissions for a five-seat car, Toyota could only record average emissions of 128g/km to finish in second place.
They were followed by a trio of French manufacturers as Peugeot, Citroen and Renault averaged 132.3, 133.4 and 134.6g/km respectively in the list compiled by JATO Dynamics.
But it was Fiat who retained the title of greenest manufacturer out of the top ten best-selling car makers in the UK.
The Italian manufacturer also boasted the two lowest CO2 cars in the shape of the Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda city cars.
However, the table only included the top 20 best-selling UK cars, meaning last years’ winner, the Toyota Yaris, failed to make the cut this year after a decline in post-scrappage sales.
The Fiat 500 boasts average CO2 emissions of 116g/km and the Fiat Panda 118g/km. Both models saw over a 3.5 per cent improvement from 2009.
Fiat also finished fourth in the individual car CO2 emissions table with the Punto supermini recording CO2 emissions of 123.5g/km.
Fiat is perfectly placed to take advantage of market conditions, according to David Di Girolamo, Head of JATO consult, because customers are increasingly buying smaller, more efficient cars as emissions-based tax and fuel prices continue to rise.
“We have seen a significant reduction in average, volume-weighted CO2 output in Europe – triggered by a perfect combination of manufacturer effort, macro-economic conditions driving demand for greater efficiencies and taxation schemes to shift buyer behaviour," he said. "The litmus test will be to see if this pace of change continues as consumer confidence returns."
Emissions will continue to drop across the EU, says Jato, because of the increasing amount of low-CO2 technology being used in cars built by mainstream manufacturers.
For example, the next generation UK’s best-seller, the Ford Focus, will boast Ford’s EcoBoost petrol technology, which improves performance in its petrol engine range but reduces CO2 emissions and improves fuel economy.
Similarly, the introduction of Volkswagen’s more efficient Bluemotion technology into Europe’s best-seller, the Volkswagen Golf hatchback, will bring average new car CO2 figures down across Europe.
Other models such as the sub-100g/km Vauxhall Corsa EcoFlex, the Eco2 Renault Megane and Citroen C3 Airdream+ are responsible for strong performance from the respective models in the top 20 volume-weighted emissions chart.
CO2 emissions by country
The latest data shows 60 per cent of European new cars are below the 140g/km CO2 emissions level compared to just 52.7 per cent in 2009.
The best-performing country is Portugal, where the average new car emits just 129.3g/km thanks to the preference for smaller, diesel cars.
Similarly, France and Italy finished second and third – not surprising given the lofty position of home brands such as Citroen, Renault, Peugeot and for Italy, Fiat.
The tough economic conditions in Greece, which has seen extreme austerity measures, means the country has the highest decrease in average CO2 emissions out of any European nation as drivers downsize from larger SUVs to more affordable smaller cars.
Similarly, Ireland recorded the second-greatest decrease in CO2 figures (-10.2g/km) after introducing a tax system based on emissions figures.
Average CO2 emissions by manufacturer
1) Fiat (including Abarth)- 123.5g/km
2) Toyota - 128.0g/km
3) Peugeot - 132.3g/km
4) Citroen - 133.4g/km
5) Renault - 134.6g/km
6) Ford - 137.0g/km
7) Vauxhall - 141.0g/km
8) Volkswagen - 142.2g/km
9) Audi - 154.2g/km
10) BMW - 154.5g/km
Average CO2 emissions by model
1) Fiat 500 - 116.0g/km
2) Fiat Panda - 118.9g/km
3) Ford Fiesta - 122.7g/km
4) Fiat Punto - 123.5g/km
5) Citroen C3 - 123.8g/km
6) Volkswagen Polo - 124.9g/km
7) Vauxhall Corsa - 125.9g/km
8) Peugeot 207 - 127.6g/km
9) Renault Clio - 127.9g/km
10) Audi A3/S3 - 128.9g/km
11) Renault Megane - 130.6g/km
12) Volkswagen Golf - 133.2g/km
13) Peugeot 308 - 135.1g/km
14) Vauxhall Astra - 140.0g/km
15) Skoda Octavia - 142.1g/km
16) Ford Focus - 142.6g/km
17) Renault Scenic\Renault Grand Scenic - 145.3g/km
18) Volkswagen Passat - 145.5g/km
19) Audi A4/S4/RS4 - 149.1g/km
20) Nissan Qashqai - 154.5g/km