(HAMBURG, GERMANY & MONTREAL) Automakers worldwide are on track to sell an estimated 400 million more diesel and gas vehicles than is feasible to keep global heating under 1.5°C, according to a new report published by Greenpeace Germany.[1][2] The overshoot is equivalent to approximately five times the total number of cars and vans sold globally in 2021.

Auto sales by General Motors, Hyundai/Kia, Volkswagen and Toyota are on track to exceed the 1.5°C compatible trajectory by 13 million, 39 million, 43 million and 63 million combustion engine vehicles, respectively, jeopardizing global climate action, the report finds.

Expected combustion engine vehicle sales overshoot relative to a 1.5°C carbon budget
(as calculated in the Greenpeace Germany report )

ToyotaVolkswagen GroupHyundai/KiaGM
Overshoot in % [lower bound; upper bound]*164% [144%; 184%]118% [100%; 136%]142% [124%; 159%]57% [25%; 90% ]
Overshoot in million vehicles [lower bound; upper bound]63 million[55 million;  71 million]43 million[37 million; 50 million]39 million[35 million; 44 million]13 million[6 million; 21 million ]
*Three transition scenarios were used in the report. The bolded figure refers to the base case, while the lower and upper limit results are listed in brackets.

“As representatives from around the world convene at COP27 this week, General Motors and other automakers continue to ignore the severity of the climate crisis. Car companies need to stop selling diesel and petrol vehicles, including hybrids, by 2030 at the latest. At the same time, they must reduce supply chain emissions and ensure that workers’ rights are protected amid the transition,” said Benjamin Stephan, climate campaigner at Greenpeace Germany

Toyota is the largest automaker in the world by sales, yet a recent study from Greenpeace East Asia found that electric vehicles comprised only one out of 500 cars that the company sold in 2021. Toyota received the lowest score in Greenpeace East Asia’s 2022 auto ranking due to its slow transition to zero-emission vehicles.

“The Trudeau government must quickly adopt an ambitious zero emission vehicule (ZEV) mandate so that the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles is banned by 2030, not by 2035. The phase-out of internal combustion engine vehicles must be accompanied by a reduction in the overall size of the vehicle fleet and a decarbonization of the supply chain, to have a meaningful impact on the climate. Better environmental and social oversight of mines to ensure that the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples is upheld and frontline communities respected is also essential. To truly achieve zero-carbon mobility and support climate justice, government plans should also involve far fewer private cars, more efficient public transportation systems, more carpooling options, redesigning cities to make room for walking, biking, and all forms of active and sustainable mobility.” said Patrick Bonin, Climate campaigner at Greenpeace Canada.


Notes to editors: 

Read the full report, The Internal Combustion Engine Bubble, And media briefing.

[1] Three transition scenarios were used in the report: 397 million is the base case, while 330 million is the lower limit of the projection and 463 million the upper limit.

[2] The report was written by researchers at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, the Center of Automotive Management, University of Applied Sciences (FHDW) Bergisch Gladbach, and Greenpeace Germany. Researchers determined the maximum number of internal combustion engine cars and vans that can be sold within a 1.5°C-aligned carbon budget, based on the Institute for Sustainable Futures’ One Earth Climate Model. They then projected future auto industry sales based on an assessment of  battery electric vehicle sales quotas and combustion engine phase out dates announced by four major auto manufacturers: Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai/Kia and General Motors.

For more information, please contact :
Laura Bergamo, communications officer, Greenpeace Canada, +1 438-928-5237, [email protected] 

Erin Newport, International Communications Officer, Greenpeace East Asia (Taipei), +886 958​ 026 791, [email protected]

Gregor Kessler, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Germany, +49 (0)151–72702918, [email protected]

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31(0)207182470, pressdesk.int@greenpeace.org (available 24 hours)