The Senate bill to raise CAFE changes the definition of a low-volume manufacturer from a company that produces 10,000 cars worldwide per year, to a company that has less than 0.4-percent of the US market -- which would be about 64,000 vehicles currently. Porsche
sold 34,227 cars and SUVs in the U.S. last year, and if the new classification stands, as a low-volume manufacturer Porsche could benefit from relaxed standards and save itself a heap of money in fines. The provision would also open the door for Jaguar
and Land Rover
to be reclassified once they are sold.
Under current CAFE regulations, Porsche paid $4.6 million in fines last year. When the new regulations are adopted, that number stands to increase significantly, which is why Porsche wants to keep the new low-volume provision in tact and has hired a full-time lobbyist to make that happen. Other automakers, of course, are not too happy about Porsche's efforts, with a Mercedes
lobbyist saying 64,000 cars "isn't really a small number." The question is, could a Porsche that owns VW
still be a low-volume manufacturer?
[Source: Auto News, sub req'd]