As the Obama administration readies a package of new rules that would mandate increased fuel economy and greenhouse-gas emissions standards, a small group of niche sports-car makers including Porsche AG is lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation for a special exclusion from the tightening regulations, arguing that the new standards would hit the specialized car makers particularly hard.
In the documents submitted to the EPA and DoT, the German automaker argued that the rules "would perversely require Porsche to become the fuel efficiency leader in the United States."
Despite the fact that Porsche manufacturers some of the most efficient vehicles in its class, the new target could be extremely difficult for Porsche to achieve.
"It's not that we can't do it, but we'd lose competitiveness," said Bernd Harling, Porsche's U.S. spokesman.
The problem for Porsche and other low-volume sports-car makers like Ferrari and Lamborghini is that the Obama administration's plans for fleet-average economy of 35 mpg by 2016 is actually a range-average target that includes trucks.
By 2016 passenger car fuel economy must average 42 mpg, while light trucks must achieve 26.6 mpg.
Porsche does have one potential out that would allow them a little leeway. According to the Wall St. Journal, Volkswagen AG's planned takeover of Porsche "would allow the new company to offset its high-octane sports cars against Volkswagen's much broader fleet that includes smaller, more fuel-efficient models."
One might even infer that the pressure is now on Porsche to finalize its deal with Volkswagen soon. Otherwise, the tightening regulations and narrowing profit margins could bight into the value of Porsche stock, which might be good for VW, but not so good for Porsche.