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Ford, Volkswagen to stay neutral on challenges to new vehicle emissions rules

Four major automakers will remain neutral by taking no position on legal challenges to the Trump administration’s decision to weaken Obama-era fuel economy standards but want to weigh in on any court fix, according to a document read by Reuters.

The Trump administration in March finalized a rollback of U.S. vehicle emissions standards to require 1.5% annual boosts in efficiency through 2026. That is much weaker than the 5% annual boosts in the discarded rules adopted under former President Barack Obama.

Ford Motor, Volkswagen, Honda Motor, and BMW struck a voluntary agreement with California in July last year on vehicle emissions regulations. On Monday, the four automakers prepare to ask a U.S. Appeals Court in Washington for permission to be heard in the court challenge for making sure that “any remedy imposed by this court is both appropriate and achievable,” a draft of the filing showed.

Last month, a group of 23 U.S. states led by California, together with the District of Columbia and some major cities, challenged the Trump vehicle regulation.

Volkswagen stated on Friday its preference is still “to be one set of national standards that’s achieved through an agreement between the federal government and California”.

Other major automakers such as like General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) and Toyota Motor have sided with the Trump administration regarding the rollback. Those companies also sided with the Trump administration in a separate lawsuit concerning the issue of whether the federal government can strip California of the right to set zero-emission vehicle requirements.

California Air Resources Board chair Mary D. Nichols informed Reuters on Wednesday the board hopes to finalize the voluntary agreements in the upcoming weeks as memorandums of understanding with the individual automakers.

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