By on January 27, 2011

With California’s Air Resource Board and the EPA set to unleash new 2016-2025 CAFE standards, the Alliance of Automotive Manuacturers, which represents foreign and domestic automakers, is lashing out, telling Automotive News [sub]

We all want to put the most fuel-efficient vehicles as possible on the road, but for the 2017 rulemaking, policymakers still need to gather and analyze much data to determine the maximum feasible fuel economy standards that avoid negative impacts on affordability, safety, jobs and vehicle choice. No one knows what the 2025 target should be yet, and the data needs to drive the rulemaking.

But not everyone in the industry is on board with the AAM’s CAFE-skepticism. Already, Hyundai Motors USA CEO John Krafcik tells TTAC his firm plans to “Overcomply” with the coming CAFE standards, and now Toyota is joining Hyundai in breaking ranks, with Jim Colon, VP for Product Communications saying

The administration is engaged. That’s the direction Toyota is already going. Whatever goal they establish, Toyota will be prepared to meet. If it’s 62 miles a gallon, we’ll be able to achieve that.

For too long now, the auto industry has allowed itself to be seen as an enemy of emissions regulation without ever taking the initiative to propose its most viable alternative to CAFE, a gas tax. By embracing CAFE, Toyota and Hyundai are weakening industry opposition to the up-ramped standards, and in the process the two firms have carved out important marketing high ground. And with good reason: given that consumer demand tends to vary far more dramatically than fuel prices themselves, even a relatively small spike in fuel prices could have consumers demanding more vehicles that achieve CAFE minimum efficiency levels or better. In the absence of industry leadership to do anything other than drag heels and complain about interference from the government that recently saved a large sector of the industry, Toyota and Hyundai seem to be headed in a positive direction.
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32 Comments on “Toyota Rejects Industry Lobby, Embraces CAFE...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    2017 is too soon to move the goalposts. The automakers are going to be spending the next 3 model years remaking their fleets to hit the 2016 targets, only to have the target raised immediately in 2017? The next jump should be in 2020. Of course, as we saw in the recent CAFE article here, the whole thing is a sham anyway.
     
    Tax by displacement or just tax the gas, and let the consumer buy the right vehicle for their life and budget. Enough of this CAFE foolishness.

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    Such a positive attitude is indeed welcome, as long, of course, as they can keep producing a quality product that has good prospects of long-term reliability.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    They should oppose CAFE.
    CAFE is bullshit.
    “Emissions regulation” beyond what we had a decade (or two) ago is unnecessary, really – and the only emission CAFE actually has any real relation to is CO2, which is not a damned pollutant (no matter what the EPA says, though fortunately they should be brought to heel soon).
     

    • 0 avatar
      Bluliner

      They should oppose any and all government mingling in the industry…but that’ll never happen.
      If the marketplace wants a fuel efficient product, the OEMs will make them or go bankrupt. If the marketplace wants fire breathing fuel chugging monster trucks instead, the OEMs will make them or go bankrupt from selling small fuel efficient CAFE compliant cars no one wants.
      Consumers should ultimately decide on matters such as this, not unelected bureaucrats.

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      I disagree. The marketplace is great for deciding certain kinds of things, but when it comes to issues relating to public health, public safety and so on many people can’t see beyond their own noses and will all too often choose to make an exception of themselves for the sake of their own short term self-interest. Letting all things be determined by the marketplace is to let reactionary, short-term, self-interested thinking rule the roost. That’s a bad idea all around.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Philosophil,

      The same government that thinks we need smaller cars is starving people to death in developing countries to make Archer Daniels wealthy enough to keep up their corruption payments. The world would be a better place without people stupid enough to think they have all the answers.

    • 0 avatar
      sfdennis1

      @Blu
      Welcome to the REAL world where the production of technologically advanced products takes millions/hundreds of millions of investment dollars and YEARS of prior design, engineering and manufacturing planning…you can’t turn a multi-billion dollar corporation around on a dime any faster than an ocean liner.

      Yeah, let’s leave ALL that up to the whims and (frequently) blatant shortsided idiocy of most consumers = recipe for disaster.

      CAFE may be less than perfect, but it at least attempts to deal with the REALITY that automotive pollution is not good for the planet, and that oil is ultimately a limited resource, and we are only going to be fighting more wars over it unless we get our national energy policy in order.

    • 0 avatar
      Philosophil

      @ CJinSD
       
      I appreciate your point, and I agree that government is not all good (in fact it can sometimes be quite nasty), but I still think there is a proper role for government, and trying to set up guidelines regarding things like short and long-term public health and safety is one of them.

  • avatar
    Ironghost

    The same toyota that’s recalled nearly 4 million vehicles in the past two years?

  • avatar
    geeber

    I thought that Honda had already broken with the other automakers over this issue…

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    This is news?  Of course companies like Toyota and Hyundai are fine with CAFE.  Companies based in Japan or Korea or Europe come from lands with sky-high fuel prices.  Their whole companies (outside of the US) are based on serving populations that crave fuel-sipping vehicles.  A high CAFE does not hurt these companies nearly as much as it will hurt the D3, whose most profitable niches involve trucks, vans, SUVs and other low mpg vehicles.

    When CAFE is high and fuel prices are low, it is the D3 who are faced with high demand for gas guzzling SUVs and pickups which are very popular.  The offshore companies don’t have much of a presense in the pickup world, and don’t sell as many SUVs (proportionately) so a high CAFE is good for them relative to the D3.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    Its a tactical advantage for Toyota and Hyundai to push for CAFE regulations, which are less dependent on full-sized vehicles, .  Moreover, Toyota is also in the business of licencing hybrid technology.
     
    The companies with most to fear, and would require the most investments to meet CAFE, are the domestics that are still heavily invested in larger vehicles.  By pushing the market towards vehicles that they dominate would benefit them.

    • 0 avatar
      PeteMoran

      “Its a tactical advantage for Toyota and Hyundai to push for CAFE regulations, which are less dependent on full-sized vehicles”
       
      Why yes, they’ve done the hard work on a 100% certain oil constrained future.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Maybe they’re taking a play from the 800 companies and union organizations that got on board with Obamacare prior to passage and have now been granted exemptions from the destructive legislation in gratitude. Perhaps Toyota and Hyundai will be the ones with the last laugh, when they’re marketing light trucks that have become illegal for all the companies that stood up to bad government.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Do Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota sell light duty trucks here? :)

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I see the smiley, but obviously Toyota is well placed to sell lots of trucks. Honda and Hyundai are well placed to sell plenty of SUVs and crossovers. Without competition from the rest of the industry, they could probably make silly money doing so.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    It’s just a marketing ploy, they get to claim they are for “saving the environment” and let the rest of the companies fight it out with the gov’t which they will ultimately benefit from. As it is the only Toyota vehicle that leads it’s class is the Prius in every other segment they are outclassed.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      What’s the best selling car? The best selling compact car? The best selling small truck? The best selling luxury nameplate? What would you do with credibility if you had it?

    • 0 avatar
      d4

      @Scoutdude. I agree.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      @ CJinSD by out classed I was referring to MPG ratings nothing more. In every segment except the Prius Toyota is behind the leader in MPG ratings. But since you brought it up the majority of Toyota vehicles despite being best sellers are not best in class vehicles in other areas. The best selling small truck is the Ranger BTW, of course it’s the only small truck currently on the market, even when Toyota still made a small truck the Ranger outsold it and got better MPG too.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    Interesting article BUT what are the new California emission standards for the rest of the states?
    We have Nancy.
    What have you got?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Honda made its initial mark in the US market way back in the early days of emissions regulations. All of the big players were saying “we can’t do it, too expensive, blah, blah, blah, here is more campaign cash …. “. Honda said: “No problem, look at our cool new CVCC technology”.
    The auto makers who embrace improved efficiency and economy are going to be winners in the emerging era of resource limitations. The knuckle draggers will loose.
     

  • avatar
    OliverTwist

    The irony is that nobody has either gut or consideration to push for the harmonisation of automotive emission regulations between the US EPA and EU. Many countries have adopted the EU regulations as the de facto standards. Even Japan and Australia who have discarded many of its “unique” regulations to harmonise with ECE and EU as to reduce the manufacturing cost and to increase the variety of models, body types, motor and gearbox choices, and so forth. China has even adopted the EU standards.
     
    While EPA and EU are very similar in scope, they disagree on the techniques of measuring the emission and procedures of certifying the vehicles.
     
    Time is now to force the United States to comply with the international de facto standards!

  • avatar
    wsn

    Let’s see, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai has no problem with it.
     
    GM spent all the AD money spamming how great their highway MPGs beat Toyota models and the 200+ MPG from the Volt hybrid. SO, GM SHOULDN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH A NEW STANDARD THAT EVEN THE STUPID TOYOTA CAN ACHIEVE, RIGHT?
    As for Ford, the supporter have always claimed that Ford is superior to GM, so they have no problem.
     
    And Chrysler is supposed to have super efficient Fiat models; Nissan has leaves.
     
    Exactly who is complaining?


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