March 22, 2007

CAW president says government’s ‘Green’ vehicle incentives hurt domestic automakers and Canadian workers

Toronto, Ontario – In a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, CAW president Buzz Hargrove has criticized the new federal budget’s incentive plan for fuel efficient and alternative fuel vehicles. Hargrove says the incentive provides a higher incentive to an imported four-cylinder vehicle than to Canadian built products.

Under the government’s “Green” vehicle incentives plan, cars will be eligible for a rebate of up to $2,000 if their combined rate is 6.5 L/100 km or less, while minivans, SUVs and other light trucks must meet 8.3 L/100 km. A “Green Levy” of between $2,000 and $4,000 will apply to new passenger vehicles, excluding pickup trucks, with fuel-efficiency ratings of 13.0 L/100 km or more, payable by the manufacturer or importer when the vehicles are delivered into the Canadian market.

“Your government’s incentive program will encourage consumers to buy imports from Asia at the expense of our manufacturers and the jobs of our members,” said Hargrove in the letter to Harper. “Workers, facing layoffs such as those in engine and transmission plants in Windsor and St. Catharines, now have to wonder whether the products they produce will end up in vehicles that are hit with a poorly designed gas guzzler tax,” said Hargrove, referring to the new “Green Levies” charged on new vehicles with fuel consumption exceeding 13.0 L/100 km (21.7 mpg Imp.)

“I strongly urge you to scrap the proposals in Budget 2007 and to sit down with the industry and our union to design a set of programs that can drive environmental improvements and at the same time strengthen our industry,” concluded Hargrove.

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