GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler Differ on Goals for Tailpipe Standards

(Bloomberg) -- Detroit automakers expressed divergent views on how to reform U.S. fuel economy and tailpipe emissions rules, even as they urged President Donald Trump to continue coordinating the federal government’s policies with those enacted by California.

The automakers and others explained their views in public comments on the Trump plan that they filed before the Friday midnight deadline. Differences among them could hamper their efforts to coax Sacramento and Washington to the bargaining table before Trump finalizes his rules as early as next March.

Key Insights

  • General Motors Co. reiterated its call for a 50-state zero-emission vehicle requirement modeled after California’s. But automaker also urged California to compromise. The new rules “should not require high-cost investment in marginal internal combustion engine improvements that customers are not willing to pay for and that divert resources from the further development of electrification,” the automaker said.
    • GM called for a national building code that would require all new construction of single-family and multi-unit dwellings to support the recharging for electric cars.
  • Ford Motor Co. urged the administration to drop the idea, contained in some of the scenarios in its proposed rules, of requiring fuel economy standards to increase at a faster rate for trucks than for passenger cars. Ford also urged that all two-wheel-drive sports utility vehicles be counted as trucks, not cars.
    • Ford warned that the Trump regulatory plan could result in years of litigation. While the trials are underway, the company could face a bifurcated U.S. market in which some vehicles with certain options and power trains can be sold in some states but not others. “The long-term impact is difficult to quantify, but could be quite negative to Ford’s financial health and its employees,’’ the company said.
  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV urged talks with California but said that if the talks fail, Trump should proceed with his plan to revoke the state’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from tailpipes and to mandate electric car sales. Even with heavy incentives from governments and automakers, hybrid and zero-emission vehicle sales account for 3.3 percent of the U.S. market. That’s down from 3.7 percent in 2013.
    Honda Motor Co. called on Trump to negotiate with California instead of revoking the state’s rule-making authority. Honda said key elements of the administration’s claim that rollback would improve traffic safety are flawed and should be scrapped.
  • Honda Motor Co. called on Trump to negotiate with California instead of revoking the state’s rule-making authority. Honda said key elements of the administration’s claim that the rollback would improve traffic safety are flawed and should be scrapped.
  • Shell Oil Products U.S. asked the administration to reconsider its crackdown on California. “The proposed revocation of the California waiver has already resulted in litigation and is likely to result in extended uncertainty that will hinder efforts to reduce emissions,” Shell said.