• Jul 2, 2008
Earlier this year, the Bush administration surprised a lot of green activists by actually surpassing the already challenging CAFE standards for 2011-2015. While automakers like Toyota, Ford, and GM are quietly going about the business of hitting those targets, BMW is speaking up and saying that the targets are unattainable. The German automaker has asked the Bush administration for an alternative plan that helps out the hardest hit automakers, and the new rules are a punch to the gut for the Bavarian Motor crew.
While the corporate average for cars and trucks is 35.7 mpg and 28.6 mpg by 2015, BMW has to hit 37.7 mpg and 31.7 mpg, respectively. The reason for the disparity is the sliding scale the government used to account for differences in size in each automaker's lineup. Since BMW doesn't sell pickup trucks and it has plenty of small and midsize offerings, BMW has to hit higher fuel economy standards. What the CAFE numbers don't take into account is the fact that all BMWs are RWD, and there isn't a four cylinder engine to be found (in the U.S., yet). The Bush administration says its final fuel economy numbers will become public by the end of the year, and if companies like BMW don't get special dispensations, look for there to be smaller engines on the horizion, or bigger fines.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]


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  • 62 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm glad BMW stepped up and spoke out. If it were any of Detroits big 3 people would ridicule them. Since it's BMW maybe some people will start to listen.
        • 6 Years Ago
        To SimianSpeedster: That's what I wanted to say, only you wrote it much better that I could have : ) Thank you!

        And, nothing is stopping them from offering us a greater selection of engines like they do in Europe. At the current cost of fuel, smaller gasoline and diesel engines will sell. But, what do I know...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Maybe BMW can STFU, they have PLENTY of cars that do better than that in Europe. So, like I said, if they can STFU and attach their version of Bluetec or AdBlue, they'll be fine. 120d anyone..45mpg anyone?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I suppose if push came to shove BMW could start selling the Mini as a BMW. Maybe they wouldn't even have to rebrand it. It's already a pretty premium vehicle and it would go a long way to bringing down overall mpg. Plus, there are way more BMW dealerships and right now it's hard to get a Mini outside of large metro areas.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed.

        BMW already pays the most fees of any auto manufacturer for CAFE violations. And I suspect they will continue to do so, passing on the cost (an ever increasing one, especially come 2015) to the consumer.

        But, yes, there lineup is very much car-centric. A fleet of 3 series will be much more efficient than a fleet of pickups. The pickups have more utility, but obviously the CAFE laws can't mandate that you actually have to use the truck for utility purposes. To me the idea of breaking the regulations up between cars and light trucks is just flawed to the core. You end up with things like the Dodge Magnum (which is now RIP, yes) that is classified as a truck (true, yes, googlable). How does that work? The 5 series wagon is still classed as a car so clearly something has gone terribly wrong. Why not just have one number - make it the weighted average between the two we currently have - and use that? Why punish BMW for not selling pickups? Its flat out wrong and is totaly counter productive for what CAFE alleges to try and accomplish.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Psarhjinian is right on.

        Consider, the original E30 M3 had a 192HP 4-cylinder and it was extremely fun to drive. Today's M3 has a 400+ HP V8.

        The original M6 had a 256HP inline 6 and it was also a blast. Today's M6 has a 500HP V10.

        This is an arms race, folks. Today's 1 series offers more power and is faster than BMW's fastest car even 15 years ago. This can't go on forever. The only reasonable options for BMW are:

        1) Keep selling 4,000+ pound, 300+ HP cars, incur massive fines and pass the cost along to buyers. If they keep buying the more expensive cars and $5-6 per gallon gas, so be it. If not, BMW will have learned the true value of all that horsepower to their market base.

        2) Offer a lighter, more balanced line of products (including diesels) and make them entertaining to drive even if they can't all rip off 0-60 in 5 seconds. Pointless (IMO) niche cars like the X6 might suffer, but there's plenty of fun to be had in a 200HP car that weighs 3,200 lbs. and has a good suspension and steering.

        -SimianSpeedster
        • 6 Years Ago
        I fail to see what is not feasible, all they have to do is follow Honda and produce hydrogen cars :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      The new BMW's have too much damn power. I love cars that have great handling, like a Beemer or my Mazda3. After the first 150 horses or so, however, more acceleration is really only fun in a straight line, in which case, buy a Hemi.
        • 6 Years Ago
        150? Try 250 and I'm with you.
      • 6 Years Ago
      For all you "freedom" folks, so should the government make all weapons, including fully automatics, RPGs, high caliber snipers, etc., legal if a company wishes to produce them and the consumer wishes to purchase them?

      I mean if they don't, aren't they telling us what to do and against our freedom?
        • 6 Years Ago
        RJ: The US Supreme Court has determined (and reaffirmed, many times) that the Constitution allows for reasonable regulations regarding firearms.

        As far as I know, they have found no such justification in the Constitution for vehicle MPG ratings.

        Also note that the regulations on firearms are primarily intended to prevent individuals harming other individuals, you'd have a hard time justifying any one person's inefficient mpg harming somebody else specifically (and now we're into class-action lawsuits and group based damages and other such socialist nonsense...).

        • 6 Years Ago
        "so should the government make all weapons, including fully automatics, RPGs, high caliber snipers, etc., legal if a company wishes to produce them and the consumer wishes to purchase them?"

        Yes.
      • 6 Years Ago
      so much for freedom. Car companies should NOT have to sell vehicles that they dont wish to, just like we dont have to but cars that we dont wish to. It is nothing short of a complete disregaurd for freedom and what it is to live in the US.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Most of you forget that the government ultimately has the right to tell us precisely what kind of cars we will be driving. Owning and driving a car is not protected under the constitution, and as long as roads and highways are built and maintained by the government, they can dictate the terms by which those roads will be used and by whom.
        • 6 Years Ago
        in that case, thank god for used vehicles! lol
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, BMW has already shown that they are incapable of building a lighter car, so perhaps this is too difficult as well. '
      • 6 Years Ago
      High fuel prices are doing more to change CAFE than CAFE itself could ever do. In one fell swoop, all the SUV's are sitting on dealership lots unsold. The only reason we needed high CAFE standards was because fuel was cheap. Now, not so much...
        • 6 Years Ago
        We didn't need CAFE standards even when fuel prices are low.

        CAFE killed the large car, created the SUV, and made 50 mile commutes affordable encouraging urban sprawl.

        A raging success.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I totally agree.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "CAFE killed the large car, created the SUV, and made 50 mile commutes affordable encouraging urban sprawl."

        That's true too. When American scouldn't any longer buy rwd boats in car form, the resorted to rwd (and 4wd) boats in suv form.
      • 6 Years Ago

      But won't BMW and MINI be lumped together? MINI's are smaller, FWD and more fuel efficient and could help offset the bigger models from BMW.
        • 6 Years Ago
        MINI is probably counted into the tally, but I doubt makes much of a dent when half of your lineup consists of M edition supercars.

      • 6 Years Ago
      If Caddy has to ditch it's V-8's, so should BMW.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thanku
        • 6 Years Ago
        Caddy is ditching V8s? Didn't they just get done making a V8 super-sedan that beats the M5? Don't you think BMW might want to answer that?
      • 6 Years Ago
      If CAFE is such a great idea, why don't they require all cars to get 100 mpg? Or 200 mpg?

      All CAFE does is give an advantage to the largest makers, who can more easily offer a wide selection of vehicles. Why do you think Porsche is buying Volkswagen?


      vwdoug11
      • 6 Years Ago
      You know why BMW is complaining? They are the leader in being fined by the US Gov. for not meeting CAFE standards. (where fines = $5.50 per car produced, for each tenth of a mpg that BMW falls below the standard). I only have older data, but I am sure it still stands today....for 1998, BMW paid $13,851,569. Mercedes paid $1,683,569 and Fiat paid $527,000. In 1997, Land Rover paid $68.00 and VW paid $176,000, just to put BMW in relative terms.
      • 6 Years Ago
      CAFE is all about restricting consumer choice.

      Instead of YOU being able to decide which vehicle is the best tradeoff for you, in terms of size, safety, economy, etc., the government wants to decide for you.

      Hyper-hypocrite Al Gore is the best example of this, telling his disciples to save the planet, while his mega-mansion guzzles energy.
        • 6 Years Ago
        My point is just that market forces are ALWAYS better than the highly-unintelligent government making decisions for you.

        • 6 Years Ago
        "Of course people are self-centered. Is that a bad thing?"

        I didn't say it isn't, I merely said that the government is there to ensure that there is compromise. It often goes to far, and as informed citizens we should keep track of what it does and vote and inform our government of what we want.

        "So back to your point. OK, so you DO want the government to be able to decide what you buy, due to limited resources (are there any other kind?)."

        Recognizing that a compromise must be made does not equal want. I WANT to be able to do a lot of things, however I also WANT others to not do certain things to me. That's what governments do. Someone has an idea and gets enough other people to agree with them.

        "So........ I guess the government should decide how big your house is, too. Actually, for the good of us all, you should live in a small apartment. Got to remember those limited resources."

        The government DOES decide how big your house is. Building codes restrict people from building huge houses in places where it would overly impact others (size, water usage, power etc.) People with more to spend can move to other neighborhoods with the building codes they want.

        I wasn't attacking you, just making a counter point. You seem to have lashed out a bit at my comment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        And before any of that starts, how much of any of this nonsense even falls under the scope of the Federal Government's powers in the first place? Especially the president's.
        It's real silly to see all this about GW vs Clinton, neither should even come into the picture. An entire society of children bickering over being on the right team...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Of course people are self-centered. Is that a bad thing?

        Fuel has been unreasonably cheap in this country for a long time, but that time is ending. I'm sure some people regret buying their Suburbans. But some don't.

        And I think it's funny that SUV's, designed to carry people, are now politically incorrect, since they drive around with only one person much of the time, but pickup trucks and vans, designed to carry cargo, don't seem to bother anybody. I guess it's better to not be hauling drywall than it is to not be hauling people.

        So back to your point. OK, so you DO want the government to be able to decide what you buy, due to limited resources (are there any other kind?).

        So........ I guess the government should decide how big your house is, too. Actually, for the good of us all, you should live in a small apartment. Got to remember those limited resources.

        Or are you "self-centered," and think you should be able to decide how big your house is, without considering the rest of us?
        • 6 Years Ago
        The public perception of CAFE isn't that it will reduce consumer choice by removing large vehicles from the roads, it's that mileage is low due to a conspiracy of 'big auto' and 'big oil'. And if only Congress would pass a law, the same cars they have now would get 40 mpg tomorrow.

        There's a segment on the news every other night where they interview slobs at the pump filling their Pilots and V6 sedans.. and think Congress needs to raise CAFE.

        Public referendum only gives quality results with a quality public.
        • 6 Years Ago
        So we have "highly-unintelligent" consumers running the show...

        Don't get me wrong, I'm a pro-market type of guy, but the modern free market system definitely fails when it comes to the environment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "CAFE is all about restricting consumer choice.

        Instead of YOU being able to decide which vehicle is the best tradeoff for you, in terms of size, safety, economy, etc., the government wants to decide for you."

        The only issue with letting consumers make all of those choices is that we're talking about a shared set of resources. Fuel to start off with, but also the roads (size, safety, emissions and economy very much effect those around you). Those trade offs effect everyone else as well, if they didn't then I wouldn't care what others drive.

        I'm very much for personal choice, but people are generally self-centered and nearly always choose their needs (=wants) first. If that wasn't the case we probably wouldn't need governments to "force" us to accommodate everyone else around us.

        Keep in mind that if enough people don't want these laws (or any law) in place, they will vote to put a government in place to change it back. Everyone seems to forget that we have the ability to do that. Write a letter to your congressmen, vote. The noisy people make the policy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Boo hoo hoo... poor BMW and other German makes... boo hoo. Hey, suck it up now, or suck it up later. Dino fuel isn't going to last forever...
        • 6 Years Ago
        We won't be duking it out, people will just be running away from us. Not to sound too vicious here, but you'd be surprised how effective a modern military can be when they can kill civilians too.

        /end daily super-offensive comment.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Oil itself will actually last 100+ years. Heck, we 60+ years worth of oil in currently known domestic fields. The big ticket for fossils fuels, as far as the US is concerned, is Coal. We have MASSIVE reserves of coal, several hundred years worth. You can't tell me that, by then, we won't find viable alternative to fossil fuel.
        • 6 Years Ago
        yeah, and at the end of that 100 years we'll be duking it out for those last final drops like in Mad Max: Road Warrior. Give me a break.
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