Blue Oval vs Big Green: Environmental Ad Campaign Lays Into Ford … Again

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2018 Ford Super Duty, Image: Ford

The builder of the world’s best-selling vehicle, which just happens to be a large truck, finds itself in the crosshairs of yet another environmental ad campaign. Like past campaigns against the automaker, the coalition of four leading environmental groups claim Ford’s commitment to the environment pales in comparison to its thirst for profits.

Oh, and Ford Motor Company might as well change the name on its logo to “Trump.”

That’s what readers of The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press read on Saturday morning, after the Sierra Club (which is not a British Ford fan group, to be clear), Greenpeace, Safe Climate Campaign, and Public Citizen ran giant ads in both newspapers slamming the automaker for backing the Trump administration’s planned rollback of fuel economy standards.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, take it easy, Ford responded.

“Too bad Ford Motor Company’s motto of ‘Go Further,’ doesn’t apply to our nation’s gas tanks,” the full-page ad read. “Today, Ford Motor Company celebrates 115 years in business by encouraging Trump to roll back the clean car standards.”

As seen below, the ad’s hardly subtle. Kudos on the retro font.

Image: Sierra Club via The Detroit News

This isn’t the first time groups like the Sierra Club (it’s not a GMC truck fan club, either) have taken Ford to task for its perceived Earth hating. Animosity against the automaker goes back years. Compared to the other domestic automakers, it seems to be a favorite target — and the company’s decision to go nearly all-in on light trucks hasn’t exactly endeared it to hardcore green crowd.

 

While we question that decision ourselves (to varying degrees), the green groups’ concern here isn’t so much product, it’s politics. Ford’s previous CEO, Mark Fields, was a vocal proponent of a corporate average fuel economy rollback, telling Trump that the existing CAFE standards put one million American jobs in peril.

Now that the Environmental Protection Agency appears ready to ready to cut the Obama-era standards — or at least delay the MPG rules that were supposed to take effect in 2022 until 2026 — Ford has joined other automakers in pressing for a single national mandate, rather than having California and like-minded states enact their own. A two-tiered playing field stands to complicate product planning. To avoid penalties, automakers would be forced to conform to California’s stricter mandate, making any new federal rules effectively pointless.

In a statement to The Detroit News, Ford fought back against the ad.

“As we have previously said, we continue to support increasing clean car standards through 2025 and are not asking for a rollback,” the automaker said. “Importantly, we want one set of standards nationally, along with additional flexibility to help us provide more affordable options for our customers. We will continue to urge EPA, NHTSA and California to work together and deliver on this standard.”

Ford chairman Bill Ford wrote in a March Medium post that a single national standard, plus some “additional flexibility” (to aid the creation of low-cost vehicles), is what his company wants.

Despite the iciness between the Trump administration and California lawmakers, talks haven’t completely broken down between the two groups. Which isn’t to say things are going well. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt does not like California having the right to set its own emissions rules, claiming last month that the state wouldn’t be in the driver’s seat for long when it came to national standards.

For its part, California, joined by 16 other states and the District of Columbia, filed a lawsuit against the EPA.

[Images: Ford Motor Company, Sierra Club via The Detroit News]