The Ford Motor Company Should Drive Us Forward, Not Backward
In business since 1903, The Ford Motor Company is one of the oldest and most recognizable brands in the world. While known for revolutionizing the way cars were manufactured early in the 20th century, though, now Ford is driving innovation backward by working to roll back the clean car standards; vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards. This action is in conflict with its pledge that “environmental leadership will not be a passing fad” at Ford.
The Ford Motor Company agreed to meet clean car standards in 2011 after a rulemaking process that included industry, labor unions, national security and consumer groups, environmentalists and the public. But, now Ford is breaking its promise to the American people and turning its back on its own stated environmental values. The company is helping lead an effort to put these standards in reverse, endangering our environment, our health, our national security and American automotive competitiveness in the global economy.
Ford Motor Company is trying to pump the brakes on innovation by exaggerating the cost of compliance with the law, lobbying to delay targets previously agreed upon by the industry, and colluding with Donald Trump, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to threaten the ability of California and other states to set their own pollution standards, as well as to roll back environmental standards that protect the environment by reducing the CO2 pollution that causes climate change and contributes to asthma attacks. Ford can do better.
- In 2009, Ford stood with other automakers, environmentalists, national security and consumer groups and stakeholders in the Rose Garden with President Barack Obama as he proposed clean car standards.
- On July 29, 2011, Ford CEO Alan Mulally stood on stage with President Obama at the Washington Convention Center to announce a clean car rule of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025.
- On the same day – July 29, 2011 – Ford signed a letter of commitment that it would not challenge the 54.5mpg rule, if a mid-term review was completed.
- On January 13, 2017, in consultation with automobile manufacturers, the review was completed, finding that automakers could meet the standard.
…but, now Ford is going back on its word and driving us backward:
- Just two days after the 2016 general election, on November 10, Ford, along with other automobile manufacturers, asked President-elect Donald Trump to reopen and roll back the settled clean car standards.
- On January 23, 2017, Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields led a meeting between Donald Trump and other Detroit automakers at the White House at which he falsely and outrageously claimed that complying with the clean car standards would cost more jobs than the “Big Three” U.S. automakers jointly employ.
- After the meeting, Fields “praised the new Administration” as he left the White House.
For his part, Donald Trump pledged to make U.S. environmental regulations “extremely hospitable” to business. “We’re going to make a very short process. Generally speaking, we’re going to give you your permits. We’re going to be very friendly.”
- Then, on a January 27, 2017, earnings call, Ford CEO Mark Fields said that the company’s talk “resonated” with Donald Trump.
- Six weeks later, Ford was rewarded. On March 15, 2017, Ford CEO Mark Fields, along with GM and Fiat-Chrysler CEOs, hosted Donald Trump at an event in Michigan providing a platform for the Administration’s announcement to reopen the review of the clean car standards.
- On April 27, Ford Motor Company met with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt. In August, the EPA reopened the clean car standards to review, “with an eye to relax them.”
Ford Chairman is Driving Backward on Promises of Environmental Stewardship…
Actions speak louder than words. Ford Motor Company Chairman Bill Ford claims he is an environmentalist, and that environmental leadership “will not be a passing fad at Ford.” Bill Ford should uphold his promises:
- After being named Chairman of the Board, Bill Ford stated, “Environmental leadership will not be a ‘passing fad’ at Ford Motor Co. It is a key strategic direction.” He continued, “There is a rising tide of environmental awareness and activism among consumers that is going to swell to undreamed-of heights in the 21st century. Smart companies will get ahead of that wave, and ride it to success and prosperity. Those that don’t are headed for a wipeout. The Ford board supports the view that environmental stewardship is a ‘trust that we must fulfill.'”
- Bill Ford also committed his company to work with leaders to combat climate change. “We know climate change is real and a critical threat, and we will continue to work with leaders around the world in support of ambitious global greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said Executive Chairman Bill Ford.
Ford Driving Backward on Innovation:
- In 2009, Ford took a $9 billion loan in taxpayer dollars to develop commercial electric vehicles (EVs), lighter weight materials and hybrids. But, according to the EPA TRENDS reports, Ford ranks low in utilizing efficiency technologies, even though it touts new technology in its paid advertising.
- A 2016 report by the Consumer Federation of America, Automakers are on the Road to Meeting Fuel Efficiency Standards, compared the percentage of 16 car companies’ CAFE-compliant models in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Fifteen companies “matched or improved the percentage of models complying with CAFE over 2015” except for one company – Ford.
- In October 2016, Ford was ranked third to worst of 12 major automobile manufacturers in terms of fuel efficiency and global warming pollution, according to EPA analysis of industry data in the EPA TRENDS report (see table 5 on page 7).
- As of January 2017, Ford Motor Company had $27.5 billion in cash reserves. This “idle pile of cash” as Fox Business referred to it, is money Ford could spend on innovation, improving fuel efficiency to meet or exceed the clean car standards or emissions-free electric cars.
Americans Know Ford is Driving Backward:
- In the 2017 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient, which surveys 23,000 Americans to measure the reputations of the 100 most visible companies, the Ford Motor Company was ranked 7th among 10 car companies – trailing Tesla Motors, Toyota Motor Corporation, BMW Group, Honda Motor Company, Hyundai Motor Company, and Nissan Motor Corporation (just ahead of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors and Volkswagen Group).
Bottom line: Responsible automakers drive us forward, not backward.
Our campaign demands that the Ford Motor Company live up to its pledges to combat climate change and be an environmental steward. We call on the company to halt efforts to weaken the clean car standards and declare its support for California’s ability to set its own pollution limits. Instead of driving us backward, Ford should accept clean car standards and embrace innovation by pioneering electric vehicles. This would reduce our dependence on oil, save consumers money at the pump, protect the environment and human health, and make Ford more competitive in the global car market.