News Column

Automakers, UAW Meet To Discuss Fuel-economy Future

July 13, 2011
United Auto Workers union logo

The United Auto Workers union is hosting meetings this week with Detroit automakers to discuss the impact of higher fuel-efficiency regulations proposed by the Obama administration, according to people briefed on the meetings.

General Motors Co. executives; Pete Lawson, Ford Motor Co. vice president for government relations; and several executives from Chrysler Group LLC attended Tuesday, according to the people familiar with the session.

The meeting comes as leaders of automakers, the UAW and the National Automobile Dealer Association have argued that a corporate average fuel-economy standard of 56.2 mpg, now under consideration by the Obama administration, would add thousands to the cost of vehicles and eliminate jobs at factories that now assembly larger and heavier vehicles such as full-size pickup trucks and SUVs.

The UAW is concerned about that potential impact on the profitability of domestic automakers as well as the potential impact on jobs and wages, Sean McAlinden, chief economist for the Center for Automotive Research, said last week.

While the Detroit Three have made progress with improvements to their small car lineup, a large percentage of profits and U.S. production still comes from trucks and larger SUVs.

Currently, automakers are working to meet a 35.5 mpg standard due to take effect in 2016.

A study released last week by the Defour Group of Fenton, Mich., cited U.S. Energy Information Agency research estimating that a corporate average fuel-economy standard of 62 mpg by 2025 would result in 2.5 million fewer vehicles sold in the 2025 model year.


(Chrissie Thompson of the Detroit Free Presscontributed to this report.)

Source: Copyright Detroit Free Press 2011

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