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Old 08-07-2002, 15:25   #1 (permalink)
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Bill Ford: Letís work with Calif.

By Amy Wilson
Automotive News

Bill Ford wants a collaborative approach to resolve the industry's emissions battle with California legislators.

The CEO of Ford Motor Co. said the No. 2 automaker is not ready to join a lawsuit challenging California's new law requiring cuts in greenhouse gases from cars and trucks. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents Ford Motor and other automakers in Washington, has said it will pursue litigation.

"We'd like to lower the temp a little bit and lower the rhetoric a little bit in California, and try to work toward a solution that works," Bill Ford said Wednesday at the Management Briefing Seminars.

"We're working with CARB (California Air Resources Board); we're working with the California Legislature; and we just want to lower the temperature, not create a big public scene, and try to get a reasonable solution."

Bill Ford, formerly lauded for environmental leadership, has been criticized by environmental groups for the automaker's reliance on heavy sport-utilities.

California's law, signed by Gov. Gray Davis in July, strives to battle global warming by cutting the amount of carbon dioxide vehicles may emit. The rules are to take effect with the 2009 model year.

Bill Ford praised the approach on environmental regulations taken in Europe.

"In sharp contrast to this country, in Europe you've had a collaborative effort between government, manufacturers and NGOs (nongovernment organizations), which has allowed (European automakers) to have their CO2 reduction target that everybody has signed up to."

Bill Ford noted the industry still must work on lowering emissions and improving fuel economy. Direct-injection diesels, popular in Europe, and gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains could help the industry tackle the problem in the short-term, he said.

Ford Motor will introduce a hybrid-powered Escape sport-utility in 2003, and Bill Ford said the company continues to seek better federal tax credits on hybrid vehicles.
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