CAFE, Auto Sales & Double Standards

GM Car Czar Reveals Real Reason for Viper Sale

By Robert Farago
September 8, 2008 –

I never considered the California Air Resource Board (CARB) a motivating force for Chrysler’s Viper model sale– until I read this WardsAuto story. “The new minimum CAFE standard of 35 mpg (6.7 L/100 km) in 2020 and additional pressure from California and 15 other states to limit carbon dioxide is part of what may force Chrysler LLC to jettison its Viper high-performance model,” Wards reported after a chinwag with GM Car Czar Bob Lutz. “‘Setting lower CO2 limits would equal setting CAFE at 43 mpg (5.5 L/100 km),’ Lutz says. ‘This is why the sale of the Dodge Viper by Chrysler makes sense, because anyone selling fewer than 50,000 vehicles annually would be exempt (from fuel-economy requirements).’” The Car Czar’s got a point! OK, OK, so California bill AB1493 sets a fleet exemption of 60k vehicles. And the EPA has denied CA the waiver they need to implement the law. And the real– and really bizarre– threat is that each state would have different fleet-wide requirements, depending on the model mix in that state. Never mind. “So if someone else bought Viper,” Bob bitches. “They could sell to capacity, but Chrysler couldn’t. This is why we are concerned about Corvette.” Bob blames the hypothetical threat on hypocritical Hollywood environmentalists. “The reason California set the exemption for less than 50,000 units is that it would mean the Hollywood folks could keep driving their Lamborghinis and Ferraris. Porsche could sell 11-mpg (21.4 L/100 km) Cayennes, but we couldn’t sell 20-mpg (11.8 L/100 km) Chevy Tahoes.” [Thanks to KixStart for the link.]

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