Demands by European carmakers for EC loans to help offset the cost of developing environmental technologies have been rejected as "not even meriting discussion".
The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) had asked for a £40 billion (£32 billion) US-style loan, amounting to two years of the research and development budget of its members.
Tightening environmental legislation comes as vehicle sales are falling, down sharply in July and August for a total decline of 3.9% across Europe in the first eight months of the year.
ACEA is also asking the EU to bring in incentives for car owners to scrap vehicles over eight years old over a three-year period to speed up fleet renewal.
Carmakers argue that a rush to legislate on environment matters puts jobs and export earnings at risk, because there is no guarantee consumers will buy greener cars.
ACEA president Christian Streiff, who is also chief executive of PSA Peugeot Citroen, said: "Carmakers face increasingly hesitant consumers and call on governments to respond, stimulate the economy and restore consumer confidence."
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