Toyota and Fiat Chrysler drop opposition to California emissions rules

With Donald Trump out of office, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), and other automakers have dropped their support of the former president’s crusade against California emissions rules, Reuters reported Tuesday. Toyota and FCA were by far the largest remaining supporters of the effort, which sought to strip California of its ability to set its own, […]

With Donald Trump out of office, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), and other automakers have dropped their support of the former president’s crusade against California emissions rules, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Toyota and FCA were by far the largest remaining supporters of the effort, which sought to strip California of its ability to set its own, stricter, emissions standards. Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, Mazda, and Subaru also supported the legal challenge to California’s emissions rules.

The automakers, along with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) issued a joint statement saying they supported the Biden administration’s goal “to achieve year-over-year improvements in fuel-economy standards.”

Separately, an industry trade group on Tuesday proposed to start talks with the administration on revised fuel-economy standards that would be higher than the Trump-era targets, but lower than those set during the Obama administration, Reuters reported.

2021 Fiat 500X

2021 Fiat 500X

After initially backing the Trump administration, General Motors switched allegiances in November, a day after the federal government started a transition for Biden. Nissan followed suit in December. Among major automakers, only Ford, Honda, BMW, Volvo, and Volkswagen supported California during the Trump presidency, negotiating a deal with state regulators in 2019.

There were plenty of signs for GM that the opposition to California’s tighter emissions rules and strong EV policy was costing it—and the position was becoming increasingly in conflict with its claimed business plan.

GM has since launched a Generation E campaign around EVs, and announced a climate pledge plus an “aspiration” to purge tailpipes by 2035.

California is planning to ban sales of new internal-combustion passenger cars and light trucks by 2035, but federal rules will likely split the difference between California’s ambition and lax Trump-administration standards.