Stellantis Limiting Availability of Gasoline Models by State Emission Rules

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Stellantis is reportedly no longer allocating gasoline-only vehicles to the fourteen states with leadership that has agreed to adhere to the emission standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). While the rules exceed federal standards, they’ve been embraced by coastal regions and beginning to influence how the industry does business. 

For Stellantis brands (e.g. Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram, etc.) this means dealer allocation will prioritize powertrains based on how restrictive the local emissions standards happen to be.

According to Automotive News, Stellantis has already stopped delivering internal combustion models to dealerships located in CARB states unless customers have ordered them special. Meanwhile, dealerships situated in non-CARB states can no longer get models like the Wrangler 4xe and other plug-ins without a customer order.

From Automotive News:

Stellantis began changing allocations for the two groups of states about two months ago. The automaker told dealers in April that the CARB states are enforcing tougher greenhouse gas standards retroactively to the 2021 model year. Those standards are separate from the zero-emission sales minimums that begin in 2026.
About 36 percent of the U.S. population lives in the 14 CARB states, according to 2023 Census Bureau estimates. Four additional states are adopting the California standards for future model years.
Dealers in the CARB states worry they'll be at a disadvantage if consumers start crossing state lines to buy gasoline vehicles from another store's inventory rather than wait for a factory order. Some are working to trade for gasoline vehicles with stores in adjacent states.
"I think many of us expected when the CARB rules actually kick in in 2026 in a meaningful way that we'd have some allocation challenges," said Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association. "The fact that it's happening [with Stellantis] in the middle of 2023 is a bit of a surprise. ... People are going to go to Reno and Vegas and Phoenix to get ICE Wranglers, if that's what they want."

While the government is playing a significant role here, there’s nothing formally prohibiting Stellantis from conducting business as usual. Californian rules requiring automakers to sell a certain percentage of zero-emission vehicles weren’t supposed to come into play until 2026 and some of the states backing the CARB proposals don’t have any firm backing behind the scheme. Voters don’t typically have a say in these sorts of regulations beyond electing the person that signs off. Even the California Air Resources Board itself is composed primarily of members that are appointed by the state’s governor, who then make decisions about how to regulate automobiles. 

Why would Stellantis bother complying if it didn’t have to? Don’t traditional combustion stales still outpace plug-in volumes by a rather wide margin? What’s to be gained here?

Speculatively speaking, there’s money to be made if customers have to special order the vehicles they want. All of the above makes a handy excuse for lower-than-average allocations. It may likewise help dealers push plug-in vehicles that might not be getting the right kind of love in other states and will undoubtedly provide a wealth of useful marketing data before certain regulations become mandatory. 

Based on what we’ve seen over the past several years, EV fans seem willing to wait on the model they desire. But someone just seeking reliable transportation is less likely to do so and will frequently opt for something inexpensive that’s already on the lot. If you’re living in a CARB-aligned state, that model is now more likely to feature some form of electrification and presumably retail for more than what’s waiting for your peers in neighboring regions. 

The states that currently follow emissions guidelines set by the California Air Resources Board are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. 

Those areas will no longer be issued combustion-only trims for models that offer a hybrid or all-electric alternative. Expect to see surging Jeep 4xe sales. Though vehicles that have no EV equivalent will continue being sold in states that have adopted Californian rules without special order — for now.

[Images: Stellantis]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • BEPLA BEPLA on Jun 22, 2023

    Oh please - you guys and your handwringing….

    It’s no different than other manufacturers such as Mercedes, Volvo, VW, Toyota, GM and others deciding to only bring certain models and engines to the US market, or even just certain states.

    Even most recently, if you wanted a Volvo V90 wagon, you needed to special-order it.

    Certain Kias were only offered in coastal states.

    You can’t walk into the Ford Dealer in Santa Monica or Lisbon and expect to see a fleet of SuperDuty trucks and F150s awaiting your choosing.

    Business isn’t about offering all choices to everyone everywhere.

  • Sabkharaab554 Sabkharaab554 on Jun 28, 2023

    I can't decide if this is a hit on Chrysler in favor if the other "domestic" brands who willingly kowtowed but perhaps its as simple as another pincer of the overall strategy controlled demolition of the auto industry.


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