Automotive News reports Ford—at least their European executive—want US and European regulators to regard each other's safety and emissions standards as functionally equivalent.
Ford, the second-largest American-based automaker, have enjoyed steadily increasing profit and three and a half unbroken years of net income under the "One Ford" strategy implemented by CEO Alan Mulally, which aims to develop global rather than market-specific vehicles. But Wolfgang Schneider, Ford's European Vice President for Governmental Affairs, says different safety and emissions regulations add cost burdens and get in the way of automakers developing uniform models for global markets. He says common regulations would afford the automaker "far more flexibility to produce in the best place". Schneider clarified that the greatest benefit would come from lower-volume models in any given market, and "Do we need this when we sell 500,000 units of a particular model in a country? No. But you are talking about 20,000 or 30,000, yes, because it enables you to bring in niche products."
The benefits of a potential US-EU trade treaty presently under discussion may include ending tariffs as a first step, but Schneider looks at ending regulatory barriers as the "golden nugget." He is directly involved in the US-EU talks alongside representatives from other makers including GM and Daimler. From his European automaker executive perspective, Schneider says all automakers are in favor of the idea. Nevertheless, he says Americans and Europeans would probably not be able to agree on common regulations. So instead, Ford are advocating a more general philosophy of reciprocal regulatory recognition rather than focusing on regulatory details.