Ford Urges Unity, While GM Gets Stung By The Bee

Ford Motors is urging the other major car companies that had backed President Trump’s looser tailpipe standards to instead embrace the clean air standards set by California, according to The Detroit News President Trump’s policy split the automakers into two camps — but with the Biden administration expected to tighten emissions standards again, Ford’s spokesperson explains that the “agreement with California is the best path forward for the environment, our customers and the short and long term health of the auto industry.”  GM, meanwhile, got a stinging rebuke from the Sacramento Bee over the weekend, which criticized the company for not having stuck with the California standards all along.  In addition, GM pulled out of its high profile partnership with electric truck startup Nikola, opting for a smaller sales deal.

Why This Matters:  Some may forgive GM for its wrong turn following the Trump administration, but others won’t forget.  Calling GM a “born again” clean energy crusader, The Bee’s editorial began: “Like rats from a doomed ship, a few of President Donald Trump’s prominent supporters have begun to abandon him now that it’s clear he cannot overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. Among the biggest and most venerable evacuees: General Motors Corp.” Ouch!

Ford’s Argument to the Holdouts

Two different tailpipe emissions standards are very impractical for the auto companies, which is why the divide between Trump and the state of California has been so difficult. The CEO of Ford told an industry meeting on November 13, “We have to have a single standard. We’ve lived in the past with multiple standards, and it’s a nightmare for the customers, for the companies.” Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford’s Americas and international markets group said, in arguing for a return to the tougher California tailpipe standards, “We all favor progressive year-over-year increases, compliance flexibilities and standards that apply uniformly across the industry.”  Ford, Honda, BMW, Volvo, and Volkswagen AG agreed with California to voluntarily reduce vehicle emissions even after the Trump administration said California could not mandate the reductions. GM, Toyota, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sided with President Trump.  GM recently announced they would no longer participate with the Justice Department on the lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s rollback of the clean car rules.

Investing in EVs

Ford has publicly promised an $11.5 billion investment in developing electric-vehicle and manufacturing them in the U.S. by 2022. Similarly, GM also announced a big commitment to spend $27 billion through 2025 on autonomous and electric vehicle technology, promising to offer 30 all-electric models globally by mid-decade.  GM’s bet had included a partnership with Nikola, but that deal fell through as Nikola was increasingly coming under scrutiny from industry analysts for overpromising on its Badger pickup truck that the company had claimed would have 600 miles of range, generate over 900 horsepower, and go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds.

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