Fuel-efficient cars might be nearly synonymous with Toyota here in the US, but in Mexico, the Japanese automaker is reportedly leading a fight in a dustup over more stringent automobile fuel efficiency regulations. Mexico's government is reportedly trying to make its own mile-per-gallon rules the same as those in the US as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout its economy, but Toyota isn't taking too kindly to the proposed legislation.
Reuters reports that Toyota has obtained a federal court injunction against Nom-163, the law that would align Mexican regulations with US standards. Amia, the carmakers' association in Mexico, has joined Toyota because they say the rules are too strict and will reduce sales because automakers will have to charge more to develop these fuel-efficient cars. Amia also wants Mexican rules to have all of the incentives that the US rules do, and says "central Mexico's high altitude makes higher fuel efficiency harder to achieve," Reuters writes.
According to the report, the government figures that the industry just wants to continue selling dirty cars in Mexico, the kind that are are too dirty to be legally sold in other places. It's certainly not because the automakers can't make clean cars in the region – Mexico's environment undersecretary, Sandra Herrera Flores, points out that "Mexico exports 80 percent of all cars produced locally. From that, 75 percent head to U.S., Canada and Europe, so these vehicles already comply with regulations we are trying to pursue, or even tougher regulations." If the new rules are adopted, Mexico calculates that carbon dioxide emissions would decrease by 160 million tons by 2030.
There was a 60-day comment period for the new law, but Toyota instead filed its lawsuit in the Tribunal Federal de Justicia Fiscal y Administrativa in early September and, just a few weeks later, the court issued an injunction.
The National Resources Defense Council's Rich Kassel called Toyota's actions "truly stunning." He writes, "Toyota filed its lawsuit before the public comment period even closed. And, the company only filed short comments on the Mexican proposal late in the process. They have not issued any public statement that explains their actions. Indeed, they have never spoken publicly about any concerns whatsoever with the Mexican fuel economy proposal."
AutoblogGreen has solicited Toyota for comment on this story, but have not heard back as of publication time.