Category: Congress

By on October 21, 2015

United States Capitol

In its proposal Wednesday, U.S. House Republicans offered a carbon credit plan for automakers to trade tougher emissions standards for more safety technology. (You know, the safety features that people are already willing to pay for.)

“This is a life-saving endeavor,” Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said according to Reuters (via Automotive News). Trading pollution for safety, “incentivizes automakers to invest in new safety technology that will save more lives.”

The plan would relax future carbon dioxide requirements up to 9 percent in cars with advanced safety systems. An automotive lobby group said reducing crashes would reduce CO2 emissions.

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By on October 8, 2015

Michael Horn testifying

Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn testified to a congressional committee Thursday that he wasn’t aware until last month of the illegal “defeat device” installed on nearly 500,000 cars in the U.S. — approximately 11 million worldwide — and that the car company could take several years to fix its cars.

Horn testified in front of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee for oversight and investigations for more than two hours.

“I would like to offer a sincere apology for Volkswagen’s use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime,” Horn said in a prepared response before answering questions from representatives.

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By on October 8, 2015

By on October 8, 2015

Meanwhile, over in the EU, no one appears to have lost their minds over the Volkswagen scandal. Not at all. Totally sane.

By on October 8, 2015

Michael Horn

In a prepared statement released ahead of congressional testimony Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn said the automaker knew of emissions issues last spring when West Virginia University researchers published findings that the automaker’s cars were illegally polluting. (Emphasis mine.)

In the spring of 2014 when the West Virginia University study was published, I was told that there was a possible emissions non-compliance that could be remedied. I was informed that EPA regulations included various penalties for non-compliance with the emissions standards and that the agencies can conduct engineering tests which could include “defeat device” testing or analysis. I was also informed that the company engineers would work with the agencies to resolve the issue.

(Should have followed up a little more on that email, probably.)

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By on September 17, 2015

General Motors Renaissance Center HQ

Two sources have told Reuters that the government will levy a $900 million fine on General Motors for its failure to recall and subsequent attempts to cover-up of faulty ignition switches linked to at least 124 deaths.

Criminal charges will be filed against GM for its role in hiding the defect from regulators, but will defer prosecution while the automaker complies with its penalty. The agreement is expected to be announced Thursday.

The massive fine is smaller than the $1.2 billion Toyota paid in March 2014 for its role in concealing that its cars could accelerate suddenly.   Read More >

By on September 6, 2015


California electric vehicle drivers may pay $100 more in registration fees each year under a proposed bill that aims to raise $3.6 billion each year through gas taxes and fees that would repair and maintain California’s roads, according to the Associated Press (via Autoblog).

The proposed fees would be a sweeping reform to transportation funding that would increase California’s gas taxes by $0.10 per gallon, add $35 to vehicle registrations and increase vehicle fees by 35 percent over five years.

Already, gas and oil companies are lining up against the proposal. Read More >

By on September 6, 2015

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson

AutoNation won’t sell any cars with open recalls, used or new, at its dealerships, according to Automotive News.

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson said the costly policy would mean that roughly 5 percent to 10 percent of cars on its lots would be unsellable at any one time. The change in policy for AutoNation comes while different bills work their way through Congress that could prohibit used car dealers to sell cars without recall repair work.

“The recall situation for the U.S. auto industry is a black eye. It is a dysfunctional nightmare that the industry should be ashamed of, and customers are right to be angry and confused,” Jackson told Automotive News. “As part of the industry, we have to hold a mirror up and say, ‘What can we do better as a company?'”

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By on August 11, 2015

Mary Nichols

Last week, Bloomberg Business profiled the one woman who may have more influence in the automaking universe for the next decade than any other person on the planet.

California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols’ story about running the nation’s most stringent air quality standards board is compelling, fascinating and terrifying — if you’re an automaker.

The state’s ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gases 80 percent by 2050 is met by an equally ambitious — and onerous — goal for automakers: don’t sell new cars with internal combustion engines in California by 2030.

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By on August 3, 2015


Fiat Chrysler Automobile dealers won’t be able to sell cars without recall repair work or they risk losing their incentive money under a new agreement with the federal government, Automotive News is reporting.

The agreement was part of the sweeping package penalties imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including up to $105 million in fines. According to the consent agreement by the federal bureau and FCA, the company already asks dealers to complete recall work, but the new mandate would reinforce that existing policy.

In the United States, it’s illegal for a dealer to sell a new car without recall repair work, but no such law exists for used cars. A recent proposal in Congress to force used car dealers to complete open recall repair work was met with opposition.

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