We have expanded the list of climate policies we assess company engagement with to incorporate land-use related policy, referring to legislative or regulatory measures to enhance and protect ecosystems and land where carbon is being stored. Assessments under this category are currently underweighted in terms of their contribution to the overall company metrics. This weighting will be progressively increased over the next 6 months.
We adjusted the terminology used to describe the queries running down the left-hand side of our scoring matrix and added additional explanatory text to the info-boxes. This has no impact on the scores and methodology. It has been done following user feedback to improve clarity.
Climate Lobbying Overview: FCAI has had mostly negative engagement with Australian climate policy for light-duty vehicles in 2021-23 at the federal and state-level. FCAI has consistently advocated for Australia to adopt unambitious federal fuel efficiency standards for light-duty vehicles with numerous exceptions and has opposed ICE-phase out policies, while appearing to support incentives to promote the use of ICE-powered hybrid, battery-electric, and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has expressed support for a net-zero 2050 carbon emissions target in Australia, for example in an April 2021 consultation response and an October 2021 press release. The group has also consistently stated support for climate regulation with exceptions in the Australian automotive sector, while emphasizing concerns around issues including price, charging infrastructure, and consumer incentives. A November 2022 FCAI Australian consultation response, for example, advocated in favor of multiple climate policies to decarbonize the automotive sector, with many exceptions. While FCAI appears to use the Paris Agreement as a benchmark for its own proposed emissions reduction targets, InfluenceMap has found no evidence of the group advocating in support of the climate deal.
Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: FCAI appears to have led lobbying efforts in Australia to adopt unambitious federal fuel efficiency (CO2) standards aligned with the group’s own voluntary standards in 2020-22. FCAI has proposed standards set at 100g/km CO2 for light-duty and 145g/km CO2 for heavy-duty SUVs and light-duty commercial vehicles by 2030, which are less stringent than CO2 standards that have applied to cars in the European Union since 2020. FCAI appears to have advocated for CO2 standards aligned with its own voluntary standards in a February 2021 meeting between FCAI’s Director of Policy and Advocacy and Australia's Department of Infrastructure, an April 2022 presentation from FCAI to the Department of Infrastructure, and according to a July 2022 internal email from the Department of Infrastructure about a recent meeting with the FCAI, all found via FOI request. An August 2022 Sydney Morning Herald report noted that FCAI had employed “a lobbying and public relations strategy … to a level that would leave Australia’s car industry with some of the weakest carbon emission rules in the world” by advocating for the adoption of its voluntary vehicle CO2 standard as the national standard.
In a November 2022 consultation response to Australia’s National EV Strategy (NEVS), FCAI similarly urged the government to adopt a fuel efficiency standard that follows “the structure of the FCAI voluntary CO2 standard”, with numerous major exceptions. These exceptions included that “targets need to be ambitious, but achievable, whilst considering global conditions and local realities”, that there are separate targets for passenger and commercial vehicles”, and that the standard includes the “ability to accumulate credit for over-achievement in any one calendar year to offset under achievement in a subsequent period”. Furthermore, FCAI has consistently qualified its support for Australian CO2 standards on other exceptions, for example in an April 2023 press release, where it called for a standard that "considers consumers, the unique nature of the Australian market, product availability, affordability, and the full range of zero and low emission technologies".
Moreover, following the Australian government’s April 2023 announcement to introduce the country’s first ever vehicle fuel efficiency standards, FCAI appeared to express a slight shift in position in an ABC News article, where the group’s CEO, Tony Weber, stated "I think we could have more ambition than our target moving forward”, implying support for higher light-duty CO2 targets than the FCAI voluntary standard, but not for larger SUVs and commercial vehicles. However, in a different April 2023 ABC News article, Weber cautioned against the introduction of CO2 standards in line with the EU and US, instead calling for “ambitious but achievable” targets and a “sensible trajectory”. This message was echoed in an April 2023 Sydney Morning Herald article, where FCAI’s CEO appeared to question if Australia could match US ambitions on fuel efficiency standards, emphasizing concerns around insufficient funding support from the Australian government.
Furthermore, a June 2022 FCAI press release stated support for an increased Australian federal GHG emissions reduction target of 43% by 2030.
Positioning on Energy Transition: In numerous communications throughout 2021-23, FCAI has supported a longer-term role for ICE-powered vehicles in Australia (including hybrids) over the electrification of transportation in line with IPCC recommendations, such as on its website in 2022. FCAI has consistently emphasized the need for technology-neutral climate regulations that permit the longer-term use of ICE-powered vehicles, including in April 2023 and March 2022 press releases. An August 2022 Sydney Morning Herald article also noted that FCAI “had launched a wide-ranging secret campaign that would delay Australia’s transition to electric vehicles” and encourage a longer-term role for ICE-powered cars, including hybrids. FCAI CEO, Tony Weber, also noted in an April 2022 press release that “the pathway to reducing emissions in the medium term will rely on a range of low emission technologies that include plug-in hybrid, hybrid and even highly efficient internal combustion engines”. Similarly, in a February 2022 Australian consultation response, FCAI emphasized the need for a longer-term role for ICE-powered vehicles and ICE-powered hybrids in Australia.
Regarding ICE-phase out policies, FCAI’s CEO, Tony Weber, in a June 2021 press release stated opposition to a proposed phase-out of ICE-powered cars in Australia by 2035, arguing that “governments should pick targets, not technologies”. Similarly, in an August 2022 statement in The Age, Weber appeared unsupportive of policies to phase-out ICE vehicles by 2035. FCAI also appeared unsupportive of an Australian 2030 100% BEV mandate according to a September 2022 presentation at Driving Australia to Net Zero – Vehicle Emissions Forum, found via FOI request. A July 2022 FCAI press release noted that the group had committed to 25 key principles with other automotive groups that included “opposing the introduction of bans” for the automotive sector in Australia. At the state-level, FCAI’s CEO, Tony Weber, opposed a zero-emission vehicle sales mandate of 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2036 in Queensland in a March 2022 press release. In a July 2022 interview with Go Auto, evidence suggests that Weber was unsupportive of a proposed Australian Capital Territory phase-out of ICE-powered vehicles by 2035.
FCAI has stated support for numerous policies and incentives to promote the use of ICE-powered hybrid vehicles, battery-electric vehicles, and hydrogen-powered vehicles in Australia, including in an April 2021 Australian consultation response. In a November 2022 National EV Strategy (NEVS) consultation response, FCAI supported numerous incentive policies to promote both low (ICE-powered) and zero-emission vehicles (ZLEV) in Australia, including a government fleet ZLEV target, ZLEV purchase incentives, and tax reductions. In a September 2022 presentation at Driving Australia to Net Zero – Vehicle Emissions Forum, found via FOI request, FCAI appeared to support general incentives to promote electric and hydrogen public charging points and purchase incentives. At the state level, FCAI expressed support for a Queensland EV purchase grant, as indicated by an April 2023 press release, EV consumer incentives in South Australia as noted in a November 2021 press release, and eliminating stamp duty for EVs in New South Wales and the Northern Territory, as reported by October and July 2021 press releases respectively. Furthermore, an April 2021 FCAI letter to the Australian Senate advocated against higher taxes for zero and ICE-powered low-emission vehicles in Australia. FCAI also supported increased investments in charging and refuelling infrastructure for battery electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles in a February 2022 Australian consultation response.