Polestar follows Tesla in departure from Australian lobby group


Just days after Tesla exited from the largest Australian automotive lobby group — the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) — over campaigns against tightening emissions standards, another electric vehicle (EV) maker has followed in leaving the group.

Tesla announced plans to depart from the lobby group just last week, saying it was “concerned” that the group was doing things that could “mislead or deceive Australian consumers” in lobbying against stricter emissions standards. Now, Geely-owned EV maker Polestar has also announced plans to exit the FCAI, following Tesla’s lead, according to Reuters.

“The brand cannot in good faith continue to allow its membership fees to fund a campaign designed to deliberately slow the car industry’s contribution to Australia’s emissions reduction potential,” wrote Samantha Johnson, Polestar Australia Head, in a letter to the FCAI.

Volvo prepares to call it quits on Polestar

The FCAI has said that the government’s move to create the New Vehicle Efficiency Scheme (NVES) to tighten up emissions standards could increase prices and limit competitiveness in Australia, especially in the popular pickup segment. The group, which says it represents over 50 automakers, said it wouldn’t be willing to support a standard that limited consumer choice.

Tesla announced plans to depart from the lobby group by the end of Fiscal Year 2023-2024 on Thursday, stepping down from the organization’s board, after the group said NVES could lead to price increases. Meanwhile, automakers such as Toyota and Volkswagen remain a part of the group.

“Over the past three weeks, Tesla considers that the FCAI has repeatedly made claims that are demonstrably false,” Tesla wrote in its own letter to the FCAI. “Tesla is concerned that the FCAI has engaged in behaviors that are likely to mislead or deceive Australian consumers. Tesla is also concerned that it is inappropriate for the FCAI to foreshadow or coordinate whether and how competitor brands implement price changes in response to environmental regulations such as the NVES.”

The Australian government is expected to enact the new standard next year, set to penalize automakers importing emissions-heavy vehicles and reward those importing vehicles with cleaner tailpipe emissions.

Volkswagen said this week that it backs the Australian government’s plans, adding that it wants incentives for electric vehicles (EVs) to be stronger. The automaker still remains a member of the FCAI at the time of writing, though it expressed concern over Tesla and Polestar’s departures.

“Our company’s position is its own – not that of any lobby group or membership organisation,” a Volkswagen spokesperson wrote in an email on Friday.

Later on Friday, Toyota Australia said it backed the FCAI’s position, requesting that the government revisit the emissions standards and the phase-in of penalties.

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Polestar follows Tesla in departure from Australian lobby group


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