Porsche faces hefty fines from US fuel efficiency law

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22 Feb, 2010 Updated Mon 22 Feb 2010 11:48 CEST
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German sports car manufacturer Porsche could soon face severe fines in the United States thanks to a proposed law meant to encourage greater fuel efficiency, daily Financial Times Deutschland reported on Monday.

“For the model years of 2012 to 2015 we’ve received a special exemption,” the company’s chief lobbyist Stephan Schläfli told the paper. “But as of 2016 it’s no longer valid.”

The paper reported the new regulations could go into effect this May, and means that Porsche will have to improve average new vehicle fuel efficiency to 41.4 miles per gallon, or about 5.7 litres per 100 kilometres. But this level is significantly higher than current measurements of about 27 miles to the gallon, and the new target is unrealistic within the time frame - despite receiving an extension until 2016, experts told the paper.

“To reach this value we have to reduce fuel consumption by around 10 percent year for year,” Schläfli said.

Critics of the bill have also said that other German car companies, who tend to sell powerful cars with big motors in the United States, are being unfairly disadvantaged, the paper reported. Some experts believe this may not be a coincidence, because most US carmakers are able to fulfil the new rules.

“Economically this rule will restructure the entire industry,” warned Walter Lewis, Porsche’s liaison to US lawmakers. “It’s not the task of the government to decide on the winners and losers in the auto industry. This is not environmental policy, it’s industrial policy.”

For years Porsche has paid fines for not reaching American fuel efficiency standards, but the cost to consumers has only been about $100 per car, the paper reported.

“With the new law the highest fine is now $37,500 per car,” Schläfli told the paper. “We can’t pay that any more.”

One solution may be for Porsche to offer its larger Cayenne and Panamera models with hybrid engines, he said, adding that it remains doubtful whether customers would be interested in the change.



2010/02/22 11:48

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