Ford CEO: Regulators Getting Tougher on Carmakers

Things are about to get tougher for automakers around the world, said Mark Fields, the CEO of Ford Motor Company. Fields spoke to reporters in China ahead of the Beijing Auto Show about what he believes is the environment for regulations, especially his belief that China will be one of the toughest regulatory regimes out there, “given some of the societal factors around air pollution,.” China has also seen rapid growth of car ownership.

“The regulatory environment around the world is becoming more and more strict, particularly on things like greenhouse gases and fuel economy,” Fields said.

This prediction comes among a wave of alleged manipulation of emissions and fuel economy figures by myriad automakers. Volkswagen admitted to its “defeat device” and now has a plan to resolve it, but the German automaker is not out of the woods yet.

It was recently revealed that Mitsubishi was falsifying efficiency figures on several models it supplied to Nissan, and a group of Mercedes-Benz owners filed suit against that company for alleged higher-than-stated emissions from their “Bluetec” diesel models. Fiat was accused by German environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe in February of excessive pollution from the diesel variant of their 500X.

French automaker (and Nissan partner) Renault was accused but not officially indicted of diesel emissions violations; in response, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn asserted, “you can say that anyone is cheating… test any other car you will find this kind of things.”

Fields told reporters that Ford meets emissions requirements “wherever it does business.” He added that Ford supports the European proposal for on-road emissions testing and would comply with a similar rule in China. The company also has two “green” vehicles slated for the Chinese market, the Mondeo hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid. Fields also stated that the stricter rules in China will come amid a long trend of industry-wide price declines.

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