Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Screws Are on the Auto Industry to Shape Up

A federal judge in California today rebuked the auto industry's attempt to block California and 16 other states from setting tough new limits on global warming pollution from automobiles, calling these efforts "the very definition of folly."

Meanwhile, the head of ACEA, the car group in Europe wrote this in Financial Times: "Sir, As the chief executives of 13 auto companies producing and marketing our products around the world, and board members of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), we write to give support and encouragement to the UN-sponsored ministerial talks on climate change opening in Bali, Indonesia, this week. We think it vital that they work towards the kind of comprehensive agreement that our planet needs."

Even an idiot can spot the disconnect. On one hand the automakers claim that they really do care about climate change. On the other hand they want to change on their own terms, and in their own time, and don't want to be told what to do.

Meanwhile, other countries are exerting their own pressure. Ireland has decided to tax owners of gas guzzlers a massive 2000 euros annually. Similarly in Israel. Same in France. Why? Same reason - shift the market away from large 4x4s and luxury cars.

If the car industry won't change then they are asking for regulations and tax measures to artificially shift the market.