The controversial directive will force car manufacturers to pay for the total cost of recycling every vehicle they have ever produced.
This has prompted accusations that European manufacturers will be at a distinct disadvantage because they account for a much greater share of the total 160 million-strong European car parc than their Japanese and South Korean rivals.
ACEA, the European car manufacturers' representative body, said the cost of recycling 'would affect the economic situation of the sector and its competitive position regarding non-European manufacturers who historically have a small market share in Europe and would not face similar measures in their core market.'
Louis Schweitzer, chairman and chief executive officer of Renault, said the French manufacturer faced a massive recycling bill that would have to be paid for through higher new car list prices.
'There are about 25 million Renault cars in Europe and therefore if it costs just $100 (€104) to recycle each that is an additional burden on us of $2.5 billion (€2.6 billion),' he said.
'This is just an additional tax on car prices and one that is anti-competitive because Japanese and Korean car makers - because of their relative youth in the market - will not face to the same magnitude. The only way for us to recoup this money is from the customer.' (April 2000)