US mpg rule 'may help German cars'

New rules to boost the miles per gallon of US cars and light trucks may benefit top-drawer German brands such as BMW and Porsche, bosses claim.

The rules, being promoted by President Barack Obama, may mean that new cars will eventually have to achieve at least 39mpg.

Said Porsche spokesman Dirk Erat: "Our cars are the best in class. If you compare the 911 to others, they are more fuel efficient. They are very effective."

BMW spokeswoman Birgit Hiller agrees that many European imports will probably have the edge over home-grown competition in the US, BMW's biggest market.

She said: "Being the leader in the premium segment in fuel efficiency and emissions, we could have an advantage in the market."

The company's luxurious X5 sport utility vehicle (SUV), which rivals the Toyota RAV4 in fuel economy, is rated at 19mpg urban and 26mpg highway by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Volkswagen, speaking through the Washington-based Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, says the company supports the programme. The alliance includes VW, Porsche, BMW, Daimler's car division Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Mitsubishi.

Copyright © Press Association 2009