Ford Chides Rivals on California Emission Levels
Ads challenge other carmakers to beat federal fuel economy standards through 2026.
Ford is challenging rivals to join it in stepping up their clean-air efforts.
It’s all part of Ford’s new Built for Progress ad campaign, which boasts about the company’s environmental efforts.
The campaign’s first ad, “California Innovation,” compares Ford’s spirit to California’s reputation for ambition, progress and innovation, especially in environmental matters.
The one-minute spot chides Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors and Toyota for not pledging to meet California’s latest fuel economy and carbon dioxide emission goals.
As the ad bluntly puts it, “California asked all automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions and fight for cleaner air. Chevy, Jeep and Toyota said ‘no.’”
Last month, Ford joined BMW, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo in making voluntary pledges to hike average fuel economy by 2.7% per year between the 2021 and 2026 model years. That pace compares with the 1.5% rate required by weakened federal requirements finalized in March by the Trump administration.
The milder federal rules—now being challenged through a lawsuit filed by nearly 40 states, cities and environmental groups—replace the aggressive 5% annual increase mandated by Obama era standards.
When the White House said it intended to roll back the Obama rules, California vowed to enforce them regardless of what federal regulators decided. Then the White House stripped the state of its longstanding right to impose its own standards.
California promptly sued to restore its rulemaking power. Several carmakers, notably including those targeted in the new Ford ad, have sided with the Trump administration.
What It All Means
California’s voluntary coalition has no regulatory teeth. But it does advance the state’s determination to address global warming.
Ford’s new confrontational ads push that agenda further by making the challenge personal and direct within the auto industry.
Customers want quieter vehicles. They also want cars and trucks that have better fuel economy. Until now, the two goals were mutually exclusive because making a vehicle quieter meant adding more layers of heavy insulating materials.
If you have any question about the almost certain inevitability of 48-volt electrical architecture in vehicles to facilitate the creation of mild hybrids for fuel economy and the utilization of electric superchargers for improved performance, then the number of companies that are pursuing these technologies ought to be an answer.
Revised safety standards, tighter fuel economy requirements, and cost pressures are forcing wholesale change to current light truck body-on-frame designs. The Auto/Steel Partnership’s Lightweight SUV Frame project has a strong contender for this frame of the future.