Volkswagen Bucks Trends, Rejects Proposed Fuel Efficiency Increases

By Blake Z. Rong | November 18, 2011
Volkswagen is pressuring American lawmakers to change the Obama administration’s proposed fuel efficiency increases that will force manufacturers to double their current mileage standards by 2025. Possibly the largest automaker to reject the new regulations, Volkswagen believes that the 54.5 mpg industry target is unfair to the clean diesels that it aggressively touts. Conversely, it’s too lenient on massive pickup trucks—the kind that fill Ford’s, GM’s, and Dodge’s coffers, and the kind that VW doesn’t build. “A lot of good work has been done, but there is room and a need for some improvements to keep a level playing field for all automakers to attain the challenging new goals,” said VW North America CEO Jonathan Browning. It’s not a complete rejection, Volkswagen said as they met with environmental and transportation officials at the White House, but changes should be made, for “fairness.”
Clean diesel, Volkswagen says, is the future: its Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, and Golf TDI models can’t get shipped out the door fast enough, with the Motor Trend darling Passat TDI gaining in popularity. But the Obama administration is looking towards electric and hybrid cars—they want one million electric cars on American roads by 2015, which is certainly ambitious at best. Currently, hybrids and plug-in electric cars account for 3 percent of U.S. sales, and none of those carry the badge of the People’s Car. Hence, Volkswagen’s belief that the standards are skewed: “We don’t know whether changes will be made, but we’re hoping that our views will be taken into account,” said Browning. “There is a need for improvement. We’re optimistic.” Source: