US automakers would be caught in the crossfire of a war over climate policy between Washington and the state of California if US President Donald Trump secures a second term in the White House.
California sued Trump for rolling back national vehicle emissions standards and seeking to cancel the state’s authority to mandate sales of electric vehicles.
Automakers stand to save billions in compliance costs under Trump’s emissions approach. But the clash with California over emissions and electric vehicles has divided automakers. It has also left the industry to deal with two sets of regulations for the increasingly divergent coastal Blue state markets and heartland, Red state markets. Automakers have long advocated resolving differences between California and federal climate policy to create a single, national set of standards to guide their technology investments.
During his first term, Trump put pressure on Detroit automakers to step up investments in the United States, attacking General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co for decisions to close plants, or invest in China and Mexico. Trump periodically threatened German automakers with tariffs. His steel and aluminum tariffs raised costs for U.S. automakers.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he leaves after holding a campaign rally at Fayetteville Regional Airport in Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S., November 2, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria