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California newspaper urges GM boycott, slams decision to abandon Trump plan

By Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

A California newspaper is slamming General Motors in a searing editorial urging consumers to give pause before buying a new vehicle from the automaker.

It stems from GM's move one week ago when GM did an about-face and said it will no longer back President Donald Trump's effort to stop California from setting its own emissions rules.

With that, GM withdrew from preemption litigation between California, the Trump administration and other non-government groups.

GM CEO Mary Barra cited the alignment of GM's electric vehicle goals with President-elect Joe Biden's endorsement of EVs as the reason to withdraw from the litigation.

Biden praised GM for the move. But not everyone is buying GM's change of heart.

In an editorial in Sunday's Sacramento Bee titled, "GM sided with Trump against California. Please remember this when buying a new car," GM is portrayed as a Benedict Arnold — the American military officer who defected to the British side during the Revolutionary War.

 

"Like rats from a doomed ship, a few of President Donald Trump's prominent supporters have begun to abandon him now that it's clear he cannot overturn Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election. Among the biggest and most venerable evacuees: General Motors Corp.," the editorial began.

The editorial said GM had been Trump's "lapdog" a year earlier when the president sought to roll back the Obama administration's fuel efficiency requirement from an average of 55 mpg to 40 mpg by 2026.

Meanwhile, the California Air Resources Board had a deal with five automakers — BMW, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo — to adopt a 51 mpg average fuel efficiency standard by 2026. But Trump challenged that deal and got GM's backing. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, along with Toyota Motor Corp., also backed the Trump administration's effort to bar California from setting its own fuel efficiency rules or zero-emission requirements.

"Now that Biden has triumphed, GM wants to get back on the right side of policy — and history," the editorial said. "If Trump hadn't lost the election, however, there's no doubt that GM would still be aiding and abetting his attack on California, climate action and the future of the planet.

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