Mercedes F700 concept

Mercedes is not slacking when it comes to building concepts and releasing cleaner vehicles. But, in a fairly standard automotive move these days, while the engineers are working, the executives are complaining about patchworks. Speaking in Switzerland, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said that the variety of environmental regulations around the world are a big challenge to his company and all automakers. Automotive News (subs req'd) cites the EU's goal of having new vehicles meet a 120 g/km limit of CO2 while the U.S. is focusing its laws on fuel economy. Zetsche described the situation this way: "Our engineers sometimes feel as if they are forced to play European soccer on an American baseball diamond by Japanese sumo wrestling rules." Zetsche singled out moving targets and different attribute qualifications as problems areas. "We're not fighting against environmental regulations. Our ultimate goal is emission-free driving. It's just that this 'patchwork quilt' of regulations doesn't necessarily support us in getting there," he said. Of course, Zetsche's argument would be a lot more convincing if global automakers didn't already sell different vehicles in different markets. They've been working within a patchwork for decades, sometimes one of their own design.

[Source: Automotive News, (subs req'd)]

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