In the wake of the Volkswagen and Mitsubishi emissions reporting scandals, regulators around the world are getting tougher on automakers with China leading the way, says Ford CEO Mark Fields.
China will be the most stringent about transparent compliance with fuel economy and greenhouse gas reporting by automakers “given some of the societal factors around air pollution,” he said. Fields spoke to reporters Saturday on the eve of the Beijing Auto Show, China’s biggest auto show.
A wave of events last week are getting automakers to pay more attention to the regulatory environment. Mitsubishi Motors admitted exaggerating the mpg of several minicar models in Japan, and that its testing methods have been out of compliance with Japanese standards since 2002. Volkswagen reached a preliminary settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board in the U.S., while facing a larger diesel emissions recall in Germany. Daimler has been pulled into the German government’s recall, and has its own federal investigation in the U.S. over diesel car emissions reporting.
Ford’s reputation for accurate reporting was tarnished in the U.S. during 2013 and 2014, when it twice lowered the mileage ratings of several hybrid models. Complying with Chinese government standards will be critical for Ford to meet its global sales strategy.
Ford is building on its record 1.1 million vehicles sold in China last year. Ford’s vehicle deliveries climbed 14 percent in the first quarter to 314,454 units.
Ford will be cooperating with regulatory standards “wherever it does business,” Fields said. The company is supportive of Europe considering on-road testing for emissions and would comply if China follows a similar testing model, he said.
Ford will be producing its Mondeo hybrid in China by the end of this year. The automaker will import the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle in early 2017.