Legacy Car Companies Sabotaging EV Transition: A Global Wake-Up Call

The study reveals a disturbing trend: nearly all major automakers are actively engaging in lobbying efforts that undermine global climate targets and threaten the transition to electric vehicles (EVs)...
Legacy Car Companies Sabotaging EV Transition: A Global Wake-Up Call
Written by Staff
  • A damning new report has shed light on the alarming extent to which major car manufacturers are actively undermining the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). The study, conducted by InfluenceMap and titled “Automakers and Climate Policy Advocacy: A Global Analysis,” reveals that nearly all major automakers, particularly those in Japan, are sabotaging efforts to combat climate change. This revelation comes at a critical time as the world grapples with the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to sustainable transportation.

    The findings of this report come at a pivotal moment in the global effort to combat climate change. As governments around the world set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable energy sources, the auto industry’s resistance poses a significant threat. The report highlights how these automakers, driven by short-term profit motives and an aversion to the costs associated with EV production, are engaging in lobbying efforts that could derail progress toward a greener future.

    YouTuber, The Electric Viking analyzes how car companies are secretly undermining their public positions on carbon emissions:

    Automakers Secret Agenda

    For years, the transition to electric vehicles has been heralded as a crucial step in mitigating climate change. EVs promise to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and improve air quality. Yet, this report reveals a stark contradiction between public commitments made by these automakers and their behind-the-scenes actions aimed at preserving the status quo. This exposes a troubling disconnect between the industry’s rhetoric and reality, raising questions about the sincerity of their environmental pledges.

    The InfluenceMap report paints a grim picture of an industry at odds with the global push for sustainability. With transportation accounting for a significant portion of global greenhouse gas emissions, the actions of these automakers have far-reaching implications. The report serves as a wake-up call for policymakers, industry stakeholders, and consumers, emphasizing the need for greater accountability and transparency in the automotive sector.

    The Report’s Findings

    The InfluenceMap report provides a comprehensive analysis of the climate policy engagement strategies of 15 of the world’s largest automakers across seven key regions: Australia, the EU, Japan, India, South Korea, the UK, and the US. The study reveals a disturbing trend: nearly all major automakers are actively engaging in lobbying efforts that undermine global climate targets and threaten the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). These findings are based on industry-standard data from S&P Global Mobility, which tracks automakers’ forecasted EV production.

    All fifteen automakers, with the notable exception of Tesla, have actively advocated against at least one policy promoting electric vehicles. The report assigns grades to these companies based on their climate policy advocacy, with ten of the fifteen automakers receiving a dismal grade of D or D+ for their high intensity of negative engagement. Toyota emerged as the lowest-scoring company, driving opposition to climate regulations promoting battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in multiple regions, including the US, Australia, and the UK.

    Japanese Automakers Lag Behind

    The report highlights that Japanese automakers are particularly resistant to the EV transition. Toyota, Suzuki, and Mazda—the three lowest-scoring companies in the report—are all Japanese. These automakers have adopted global advocacy strategies that promote policies locking in a longer-term role for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, including hybrids. This reluctance to fully embrace EVs is reflected in their forecasted production numbers: Suzuki is expected to produce only 10% EVs by 2030, Honda 24%, Toyota 29%, and Mazda 30%.

    The InfluenceMap analysis also reveals that the automotive industry’s collective EV production forecasts fall short of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) updated 1.5°C scenario, which requires 66% of all new car sales to be electric by 2030. Current industry forecasts predict that only 53% of vehicles produced in 2030 will be electric. This shortfall is significant given that transportation is the third-largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions. The failure to meet these targets underscores the urgent need for stronger regulatory frameworks and greater accountability within the industry.

    Automotive Industry Undermining Climate Policies

    Furthermore, the report underscores the role of automotive industry associations in undermining climate policies. These associations, representing multiple automakers’ interests, have aggressively lobbied against ambitious climate rules. For instance, in Australia, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) successfully lobbied to weaken the New Vehicle Efficiency Standards announced in March 2024. The revised policy is now projected to achieve a 50% reduction in emissions by 2029 instead of the originally proposed 60%. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation has led efforts to weaken proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards in the US.

    The InfluenceMap report provides a stark warning: automakers’ coordinated efforts to resist climate regulations are jeopardizing global efforts to mitigate climate change. The findings highlight the need for immediate and decisive action to hold these companies accountable and ensure they align their production plans with global climate targets. Policymakers, industry stakeholders, and consumers must work together to demand greater transparency and accountability from automakers, driving the transition to sustainable transportation.

    Industry Sabotage: A Coordinated Effort

    The InfluenceMap report highlights the critical role of automotive industry associations in sabotaging climate regulations. These associations aggressively push back on ambitious climate rules globally. For example, Australia’s New Vehicle Efficiency Standards, announced in March 2024, were watered down following intense advocacy from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI). The final policy is estimated to result in a 50% reduction in emissions by 2029 rather than the 60% reduction that was initially proposed. In the US, Alliance for Automotive Innovation successfully lobbied to weaken proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards.

    The report underscores that every automaker included in the study, except Tesla, remains a member of at least two of these industry groups, with most automakers a member of at least five. This widespread membership highlights the coordinated effort to resist regulatory changes and maintain the status quo.

    Growing SUV Sales: A Climate Threat

    The report also points to the growing production of larger, less efficient vehicles, such as SUVs and light trucks, as a significant climate problem. Automakers are forecasted to increase the production of these vehicles globally, from 57% of global light-duty sales in 2020 to 64% by 2030. This trend is troubling, given the higher emissions associated with larger vehicles. SUVs’ higher oil consumption accounted for one-third of global oil demand growth between 2021 and 2022.

    InfluenceMap’s analysis reveals that automakers are failing to meet EV production targets and continuing to influence regulations to favor SUV and light truck sales over smaller, more efficient vehicles. This strategy represents a growing obstacle to achieving global climate targets.

    The Broader Implications

    The InfluenceMap report not only illuminates the current state of the automotive industry’s climate policy engagement but also underscores the broader implications of these findings for global climate action. Major automakers’ active sabotage of EV transition efforts poses significant risks to achieving international climate targets. This coordinated resistance could have far-reaching consequences, undermining years of progress and exacerbating the already critical issue of global warming.

    One of the most alarming implications is the potential delay in achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C, with efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C. The transportation sector, a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, plays a crucial role in these efforts. However, with automakers actively lobbying against stringent climate policies and EV mandates, the path to decarbonizing the sector becomes increasingly challenging. This resistance undermines the effectiveness of national and international climate policies, ultimately hindering global efforts to mitigate climate change.

    The influence of automakers on climate policy also raises significant concerns about corporate governance and accountability. As the report highlights, these companies are leveraging their industry associations to lobby against climate regulations, prioritizing short-term profits over long-term sustainability. This behavior jeopardizes environmental goals and erodes public trust in the automotive industry. Consumers and investors increasingly demand greater transparency and accountability from corporations, and the findings of this report suggest that automakers need to reevaluate their strategies to align with these expectations.

    Furthermore, the continued production and promotion of larger, less efficient vehicles like SUVs and light trucks exacerbate the climate crisis. The report indicates that the shift towards these vehicles has led to higher CO2 emissions, with SUVs’ oil consumption accounting for a significant portion of global oil demand growth. This trend not only counters the progress made by adopting EVs but also highlights the need for regulatory measures that address the environmental impact of vehicle size and efficiency.

    The broader implications of the InfluenceMap report extend beyond the automotive industry, highlighting the need for stronger regulatory frameworks and international cooperation. Policymakers must recognize the influence of corporate lobbying on climate policy and take decisive action to counteract these efforts. This includes implementing and enforcing robust climate regulations, promoting transparency in corporate lobbying activities, and incentivizing the production and adoption of EVs.

    The report also underscores the importance of consumer awareness and activism. As the primary stakeholders in the automotive market, consumers have the power to drive change by demanding more sustainable products and holding companies accountable for their environmental impact. By choosing to support automakers that prioritize sustainability and align with global climate targets, consumers can play a crucial role in accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and reducing the overall carbon footprint of the transportation sector.

    In conclusion, the InfluenceMap report reveals the significant challenges posed by automaker lobbying against climate policies. The broader implications of these findings underscore the urgent need for collective action from policymakers, industry stakeholders, and consumers to drive the transition to sustainable transportation and achieve global climate goals.

    Social Media Explodes!

    The InfluenceMap report has sparked a flurry of reactions across social media and within the industry, highlighting a diverse range of perspectives on the findings. Many users expressed their outrage and disappointment at the automakers’ actions, while others called for greater accountability and immediate policy changes.

    One user on social media commented, “The IEA’s updated 1.5°C scenario is just irritating people now. We all know it’s in the rear-view mirror. It’s going to be 2.5-3.0°C without any doubt, and that’s close to, if not beyond, an extinction-level event.” This comment reflects a growing sense of urgency and frustration among the public regarding the slow pace of climate action and the perceived ineffectiveness of current measures.

    Another user highlighted the significant influence of industry lobby groups, stating, “A royal FU to the members of the FCAI and similar lobbies, and to the legacy car companies, especially the one run by that poison toad, Toyoda.” This sentiment underscores the anger directed at automakers and their lobbying efforts, which are seen as major obstacles to meaningful climate action.

    In the industry, some voices called for a more pragmatic approach to addressing the issue. Richard, a commenter, noted, “The problem here is that people see the goal as to migrate our entire fleet to EV, whereas the actual goal is to reduce CO2 emissions. In Australia, EVs are not much cleaner than quality hybrids in terms of lifecycle CO2, yet we treat them as being totally clean.” This perspective highlights the complexity of the issue and the need for comprehensive solutions that consider the full lifecycle emissions of vehicles.

    Meanwhile, supporters of electric vehicles and clean energy expressed their continued commitment to pushing for change. One social media user commented, “Electrifying transportation and supply chains would drop prices. Here is looking at you Coles and Woollies.” This comment reflects optimism about the potential for electric vehicles to transform not only the automotive industry but also broader economic and environmental systems.

    A notable voice in the discussion was Michelle Harris, who pointed out the omission of certain automakers from the report. She stated, “Wondering why Volvo isn’t mentioned as a producer that is actively engaged in EV production? From their website: ‘Fully electric by 2030. Today, all our cars have an electrified version. We plan to become a fully electric car company by 2030 – by then we want all our new cars to be pure electric. We’re all in.'” This highlights the importance of recognizing and supporting companies committed to the EV transition.

    The InfluenceMap report has clearly resonated with a wide audience, prompting calls for greater transparency, stronger regulatory frameworks, and increased consumer activism. The diverse range of comments and reactions underscores the complexity of the issue and the need for a multifaceted approach to driving the transition to sustainable transportation.

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