General Motors pulled the handbrake on Monday and swung in the opposite direction to the Trump administration after CEO Mary Barra announced it will immediately withdraw support for litigation that aims to block California from setting its own emissions rules. GM’s move is a massive win for environmentalists, and as the automaker aims for an all-electric future, Barra said the move is in everyone’s best interest.
“President-elect Biden recently said, ‘I believe that we can own the 21st century car market again by moving to electric vehicles.’ We at General Motors couldn’t agree more,” Barra said in the letter. She underscored the incoming Biden administration’s support for electric vehicles, US manufacturing of EVs and investments in infrastructure and argued for collaborative action by the industry to create a more sustainable future.
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“To better foster the necessary dialogue, we are immediately withdrawing from the preemption litigation and inviting other automakers to join us,” Barra added. GM was one of a few major automakers, including Fiat Chrysler and Toyota, to side with the Trump administration as the fight over states setting their own emissions rules unfolded. FCA and Toyota did not immediately return requests for comment following GM’s action today.
On the other side of the fight was Ford, Volkswagen and Honda, which sided with California. The three also agreed to a voluntary deal with California last year to stick with the state’s regulations no matter the national climate. A rift quickly opened within the auto industry, but GM’s decision today could start to stitch things up and provide a single path forward under a Biden administration.
GM said last week it has $27 billion earmarked for electric vehicles and plans to roll out 30 new EVs by 2025. Two-thirds of the new electric cars will be for the US. California said earlier this year that it will ban the sale of new cars powered by fossil fuels by 2035; the state accounts for 11% of new vehicle sales in the US.
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