U.S. government shutdown threatens rollout of new cars

2018 Limited Edition Ford Focus RS

The partial U.S. government shutdown is threatening to postpone the roll-out of new vehicle models in the United States by stalling necessary certifications from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), automakers stated.

The shutdown, at 34 days the longest in history, has left more than 800,000 federal agency workers without pay and had effect on everything from access to national parks to airline security screening to the release of financial data.

Some 95 percent of EPA staff has been furloughed, consisting of those at the lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, responsible for confirming emissions data for new automotive models to ensure they adhere to clean air laws.

The automaker has not yet had any vehicle launch delays but “like other automakers, we are currently awaiting decisions in the certification process for a few model year 2019 and 2020 vehicles,” spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan stated.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Mike Manley stated at the Detroit Auto Show last week that the shutdown had postponed final certification of FCA’s new RAM 3500 heavy-duty pickup truck, among its most profitable segments.

Ford Motor officials stated some vehicles could be delayed if the government shutdown remains another 30 days.

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