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2012 Toyota Prius Plugin

Toyota Sues to Stop Mexico’s Proposed Fuel-Economy Program

Toyota, the Mexican Auto Industry Association (AMIA) and four other individual car companies have filed lawsuits to block Mexico’s proposed fuel-economy mandates, Toyota tells Environmental Leader.

In September, the court sided with Toyota and issued an injunction barring the federal government from proceeding with the proposed fuel economy regulations, NOM-163. And yesterday, the court granted an annulment to another company, according to Toyota, although the automaker would not name the company.

The International Council of Clean Transportation says the regulations would save Mexican drivers an estimated $39 billion, cut 170 million tons of greenhouse gases and conserve 70 billion liters of fuel. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the rules would bring Mexico’s rules for cars, pickup trucks and SUVs in line with the US 2012-2016 fuel economy standards, mandating an average fuel economy of 35 mpg in 2016.

Toyota, however, says the Mexican regulations are stronger than their US counterparts. It also insists it is not trying to stop the fuel-economy program.

“Toyota and other OEMs in Mexcio including Automotive Association were granted a provisional suspension to the process, looking for dialogue and to be considered by authorities because the new standard is more stringent than CAFE that you have in US and doesn’t consider flexibility, incentives, timing, etc.,” Toyota Motors Sales de Mexico spokeswoman Ana Maria Vallarino said. “Toyota supports the creation of an effective and integral initiative that benefit customers, OEMs and authorities.

“This is an industry matter, not Toyota’s,” Vallarino added. “The industry is looking to generate consensus among the authorities and the industry in terms of times and conditions to comply with the new requirements.”

But Roland Hwang, transportation program director for NRDC’s energy program, says the lawsuit is shocking because Toyota supports the US standards. Toyota — along with Ford, GM, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Volvo and the United Auto Workers — has also signed on to the next phase of US standards, which raise the average fuel economy of cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

“A cynic might say that Toyota is simply not as concerned about cultivating a ‘verde ’ image outside of the US,” Hwang blogs.

At press time, the AMIA could not be reached for comment.

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