In the eyes of the Detroit carmakers, the big winner from the energy bill passed in the Senate this week is Nissan. One of the oddball quirks of the original CAFE regulations was a separation of domestic and import vehicle fleets for purposes of calculating the averages. This resulted in strange scenarios such that most American of cars the Ford Crown Victoria getting assembled with just enough imported parts to bring it below the threshold for domestic classification. Calling the Canadian-assembled Crown Vic an import allowed it to be averaged with the Festiva that Ford was then importing from Kia instead of lumping it in with other, thirstier models like the Mustang.

The opposite scenario hit Nissan in recent years when the Mexican-built Sentra became a domestic thanks to NAFTA. Nissan was actually the only carmaker to support the bill that passed which included eliminating the two fleet rule and counting all vehicles together. The US carmakers have vowed to make sure the two fleet rule returns to any final form of the bill that is passed. Most likely, the Democrats will restore it to ensure that some small car production remains in North America.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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