McKerracher: How city policies are reshaping auto markets

by Colin McKerracher, Bloomberg NEF

Automakers are facing a new challenge that’s cropping up from Beijing to Brussels: city regulations pushing them towards cleaner vehicles even faster than national policy goals.

In the past, it was all much simpler. Automakers had to juggle various national and regional policy frameworks – fleetwide CO2 targets in Europe and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Regulations in the U.S., for example – but the well-worn process generally operated with plenty of lead time and with extensive industry input. In the last few years, a potent combination of rising health concerns, emissions scandals, activist pressure and the emergence of real alternatives has led cities to take a more aggressive stance on urban air quality.

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