The Audi Q3 won’t be coming to the United States for a couple of years, according to Car and Driver. The issue stems from the Q3′s approach angle, which is not sufficient to be classified as a “light truck” in America. Why does this matter? Well, CAFE of course. Crossovers, as car like as they may be, are more beneficial for auto makers looking to meet CAFE standards, and Audi isn’t going to all this trouble to have the Q3 come over as a car.
The diesel powered version of the Mazda6 will be delayed until April of 2014 in the United States, and if you believe Mazda, the delay is meant ”to accommodate final emissions testing and certification.” But prior reporting by TTAC on the matter shows that this is far from the only hiccup faced by Mazda with its oil burners.
This past Friday, Jack reported on Continental’s decision to remove its ATE Super Blue brake fluid from the market, citing its non-compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards. Apparently, Super Blue ran afoul of regulations regarding the coloration of brake fluid in motor vehicles. It’s not clear exactly what led Continental to recall the product now after years on the market, but it’s obvious why: blue brake fluid is a no-go according to American regulators. As Jack pointed out, this apparent government overreach has cost consumers another choice that amateur racers in particular found useful. Commenters on that story debated the relative merits of regulating automotive fluid colors, in particular brake fluid. So just how regulated are fluid colors anyway, and do those regulations help or hurt consumers overall?
The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection’s rejection of BMW’s application to expand one of their factories is generating concern that global automaker will find it harder to win approval for their own Chinese projects.
We won’t get into the politics of emission-control laws here, except to observe that you’re either a Marx-quoting, global-warming-duped, vegan one-worlder who wants to crush personal initiative beneath tons of bureaucracy and force everyone to ride an electric bus to their groat rations at the communal kitchen… or you’re an Ayn-quoting, gun-fondling, toxic-waste-spreading wingnut who cackles with glee at the mental image of inner-city children shriveling like salt-soaked slugs beneath tons of lead, oxides of nitrogen, and unburned hydrocarbons. Now that you’ve all chosen sides, imagine that every official in every level of every government in the world waved their magic legislative pens and put the kibosh on all emissions-related regulations concerning motor vehicles. Would you go clean, dirty, or in-between with your next vehicle purchase? (Read More…)
Canada’s government is seen as reluctant to tackle the issue of climate change. Concerned Canadians have even taken to discussing how putting a Canadian flag on one’s backpack may be dangerous because our lack of environmental leadership has diminished our standing in places like Europe. Or at least that’s what one eco-conscious party guest told me, in between agitating for more bike lanes and asking for a lift home.
Since motorists and drivers are low-hanging fruit without any kind of organized lobby, our Conservative government has decided to offer up the automobile as a sacrificial lamb in the PR temple by implementing CAFE-style standards on Canadian vehicles. As we all know, CAFE is a deeply flawed system that rewards the bad guys. So why would Canada, a land of small cars and high gas prices, do this?
Automakers looking for a bit of a break with CAFE compliance can now get a 2 for 1 special on EVs.
Close your eyes and imagine it’s 1979. A first-term Democratic president struggles with unemployment, malaise, high energy prices, and embassy trouble. The landscape of today looks like the landscape of then, but there’s one important thing missing: The compact pickup. Where did they go? The small pickup was an indelible symbol of America’s lowered expectations in the Seventies and Eighties. Now that crappy times are here again, where are the paper-thin truck beds and wheezy-but-indestructible four-cylinders to pull them?
Over the last few days we’ve been discussing the implications of the growing gap between global oil demand and production, looking at the responses of a global automaker, a radical startup and the oil industry itself. And make no mistake, it’s an uncertain future out there… unless you’re selling cars in the US. In that case, your future just arrived, planned all the way through 2025. That is, if you think this proposed rule will survive four presidential elections and one industry-government “mid-term review.” Want to familiarize yourself with this pre-planned fuel economy future? All 893 pages await your perusal, in PDF format here. Or, hit the jump for a few broad strokes.
Remember the uproar over Unintended Acceleration in Toyotas? After more than a year of investigation, NHTSA has yet to find a definitive cause for the furor… although the experience was not an entire waste. In fact, the most interesting result of the entire situation was that it cast light on NHTSA’s inefficacy as much as it did embarrass Toyota’s quality control. And to help clarify what exactly the lessons of the Toyota flap were, the DOT’s Inspector General has released a report detailing its criticisms of the federal safety regulators. According to the report [PDF], NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigation (ODI) has not
- Adequately tracked or documented pre-investigation activities.
- Established a systematic process for determining when to involve third-party or Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC) assistance
- Followed timeliness goals for completing investigations or fully implemented its redaction policy to ensure consumers’ privacy. [Ed: gee, you think?]
- Established a complete and transparent record system with documented support for decisions that significantly affect its investigations.
- Developed a formal training program to ensure staff has the necessary skills and expertise.
Chinese automakers are delaying exports to Europe and the US until after 2015, largely because they admit their products aren’t “ready for primetime.” And few issues demonstrate that fact as well as the scandalous crash test videos that have defined internet perceptions of Chinese cars for years now. But with even more recent Chinese export-intenders continuing to put up lousy safety results, Autobild reports that, starting in 2012, China will improve its crash test standards to near-European levels.
NHTSA has denied the niche supercar maker Pagani a waiver for advanced airbag requirements for its new Huayra, possibly forcing the Italian firm to delay US sales until 2015. According to the Federal Register[PDF], Pagani
estimated that if the requested exemption were granted, it would sell 35 to 45 vehicles per year, 6 to 12 vehicles of which would be sold in the United States…. [Pagani] submitted projections estimating that if the petition for exemption is denied and no vehicles are sold in the United States, the company would make an estimated €5,398,000 in net income during the period of 2011 through 2014, compared to €8,613,000 in net income during the same period if an exemption were granted. The company asserted that the difference in gross revenue between granting and denying the exemption is approximately €34,000,000, and the financial records indicate a difference in projected net income of approximately €3,215,000.
The announcement of President Obama’s proposed 54.5 MPG 2025 CAFE standard was hailed nearly unanimously today in a ceremony attended by many auto industry executives as well as government officials. Volkswagen and Daimler were conspicuous by their absence, as the Bloomberg quotes VeeDub spokesman Tony Cervone arguing
The proposal encourages manufacturers and customers to shift toward larger, less-efficient vehicles, defeating the goal of reduced greenhouse-gas emissions,
while Reuters notes Daimler’s response
Mercedes-Benz, the luxury car line owned by German car and truck maker Daimler, did not back the new program, saying it “clearly favors large SUVs and pickup trucks.”
“Our customers expect a range of vehicles from which to choose so this program creates a very real disconnect between government regulation and customer demand,” the carmaker said in a statement.
But are these concerns well-grounded? We don’t know yet, as the details of the proposal (specifically the loophole details) have not yet been released. Instead of publicizing the full rule, the White House released a report [PDF], highlighting the easy-to-like aspects of the proposed rule. But how easy-to-like is the standard really?
After the apocalyptic warning from the industry about a proposed 56.2 MPG 2025 CAFE standard, the auto industry seems to be backing the White House’s latest proposal, which reduces the 2025 target to 54.5 MPG, slows the rate of efficiency improvement for trucks and increases advanced technology credit loopholes. Another key consideration: the White House agreed to a mid-term review of the 2025 standards to ensure they reflect the market. Plus, the DetN points to a previously unheard-of compromise to keep big trucks cheap:
The plan is also carving out special rules for “work trucks” — heavier light duty vehicles used for construction.
As a result of these compromises, the WSJ [sub] reports:
As of Wednesday, Toyota Motor Corp., General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC, Honda Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co., BMW AG and Volvo had told the administration they would support the plan
With the industry now largely on board, the Obama Administration has a green light to announce its new standard at a ceremony planned for tomorrow. But not everyone is happy with the new proposal…