Most automakers have gotten in line with the White House and accepted (even welcomed) the new CAFE regulations. Not Volkswagen. In fact, they criticize the new CAFE standards as being biased towards trucks—which of course, they don’t build.
The proposal “places an unfairly high burden on passenger cars, while allowing special compliance flexibility for heavier light trucks,” according to a statement from Tony Cervone, vice president of communications for Volkswagen America. Furthermore, “the largest trucks carry almost no burden for the 2017-2020 timeframe, and are granted numerous ways to mathematically meet targets in the outlying years without significant real-world gains.”
Long story short, Volkswagen fears that manufacturers will find ways to skirt the CAFE regulations by building larger vehicles and classifying them as trucks, rather than finding ways to improve the mileage of their current lineup. The largest vehicle in VW’s lineup is the Touraeg, which luckily for them counts as one of those larger trucks (along with the Routan minivan, somehow).
VW’s point isn’t new: classifying smaller vehicles as light trucks to cheat efficiency regulations is something every manufacturer is guilty of, and hell, it’s basically what kept GM and Ford alive during those dark days of the early 2000s. But VW finds itself outspoken when raising this matter, as every other major manufacturer has supported the government’s new CAFE standards. Will VW hold its ground?