Ford wants Trump to lower MPG standards

CEO Mark Fields really, really doesn't like having to build green cars.

After selling about 70,000 "electrified" vehicles (that is, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles) in 2015 and is on track to do the same in 2016, Ford is crying uncle. Ford now wants to lead the charge to lower the federal fuel economy standards. That's according to Bloomberg, which talked to Ford CEO Mark Fields. Fields said that he wants to talk to Trump about many things, including lower CAFE standards.

"We will be very clear in the things we'd like to see," Fields told Bloomberg. Fields said that the rules – which Ford agreed to, of course, in 2011 – mean that automakers have to build more hybrids and electric vehicles than they want to. And there's no demand, Fields said as he blamed car shoppers. "In 2008, there were 12 electrified vehicles offered in the US market and it represented 2.3 percent of the industry," he said. "Fast forward to 2016, there's 55 models, and year to date it's 2.8 percent."

This isn't exactly true (there are most assuredly not 55 EVs for sale across the US. In California, maybe, but not "the US market"), but let's be clear that Ford hasn't exactly led the way with compelling plug-in products. Tesla, for all of its potential problems, has taken in almost 400,000 reservations for its upcoming Model 3. That's about two years' worth of Focus sales, to pick a popular Ford sedan for comparison.

In any case, as Green Car Reports points out, the driving regulatory factor for plug-in vehicles is the California Air Resources, not the EPA. And it already looks like CARB is not going to back down on its clean air efforts if President Trump decides to weaken the federal standards. Ford, of course, has previously pledged to spend $4.5 billion on various electrification efforts. The 54.5 mpg CAFE standards were agreed to in 2011.

Trump's relationship with the auto industry is slowly coming into focus, but a lot remains unclear. He made misleading comments about some jobs at Ford during and after the election. He has named GM CEO Mary Barra as an advisor, and it sounds like he might soon be listening to Ford as well.

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