Big day for the U.S auto industry, President Obama has announced new rules for fuel efficiency and emissions that will require require all automakers selling automobiles in the U.S. to increase fleet fuel efficiency by 5% PER YEAR starting in 2012.

We have already heard  in the past about the California Zero Emission Vehicles regulation which stipulates that large auto makers have to sell between a few hundred and a few thousand Zero Emission Vehicle every year starting in 2012.

The new rules announced today will increase the 2009 model year requirements of 25 mpg to fleet fuel efficiency standard of 35.5 miles  per gallon by model year 2016. This breaks down into the following: fleet fuel efficiency standard for all domestically sold passenger cars will be 39 mpg and 30 mpg for all domestically sold light trucks and SUVs.

So, the natural questions arises: where does BMW stand and how will they be affected? Well, we can clearly see now how BMW has positioned itself over the last few years and in our opinion, their odds are very good. We have first seen more and more vehicles being launched under the EfficientDynamics program, with two diesel efficient engines that launched in the U.S. late last year. We have also learned over a year ago about BMW’s plans to introduce four cylinder turbo engines and even quad-turbo four cylinder sometimes in the future.

Also, just a few weeks ago, another semi-confirmed rumor appeared: three cylinder engines that will power some of the next generation 1 Series entry models. Despite the fact that the most recent BMW models are being powered by large displacement engines, including the most recent V8 twin-turbo in the X5 M and X6 M, the future generation Motorsport models will use six cylinder engines, either in-line or V6.

As far as the MINI brand, we have already seen the first 500 MINI E  electric models being launched part of a pilot in some U.S. states. Future MINI vehicles will also use four cylinder engines, either gasoline or diesel.

At the end of this year, BMW will launch the first hybrid SUV/SAC , the X and we predict to see an X5 hybrid next year as well. The 7 Series will also come in a “hybrid flavor”, making the large premium sedan a far more efficient car.

Again in our opinion, we will see many changes in the next few years, clearly four-cylinder gasoline engines coming to the U.S., some new diesel models(we’re rooting for the 123d) and definitely more hybrid vehicles(5GT is rumored to be one of them).

Before I will let you read the BMW statement issued today, I would like to leave you with this thought: will this announcement made today impact in short term, in a positive way, the sales of the BMW 335d and X5d?

Below you will find the current EfficientDynamics BMW and MINI fleet.

bmw fleet efficientdynamics1 61x150

mini fleet efficientdynamics1 85x150

BMW Group supports Obama Administration’s Proposal on Future National Fuel and Green House Gas Regulations

* 19.05.2009
* Press Release

Munich/Washington,DC. The BMW Group is in agreement with the direction outlined today by President Obama and his Administration to have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) work together toward one national standard for regulating future greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy. “The announcement today by President Obama is a major step in the right direction for automotive manufacturers in the United States such as the BMW Group,” said Friedrich Eichiner, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “Consistency of legislation and planning certainty are not only crucial for synchronizing product development and regulatory requirements but also for enabling companies to remain viable, profitable and sustainable.”

With a view to the challenging new targets in the US the BMW Group can build upon its extensive technological expertise and innovative know-how in developing environmentally friendly technologies that have already enabled the company to reduce its carbon output and increase fuel efficiency over the past several years.

In the US, the recent report entitled “Automakers’ Corporate Carbon Burdens” published by the Environmental Defense Fund found that the BMW Group had reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in the US more than any other automotive company between 1990 and 2005.

In Europe, the BMW Group also achieved fuel consumption levels that were the best among any premium auto manufacturer between 1995 and 2008, exceeding the voluntary commitment made by the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers to reduce average CO2-emissions by 25 per cent from 1995 to 2008. Such achievements have enabled the BMW Group to be ranked as the most sustainable automotive company in the world for the past four consecutive years.

Innovative fuel and emission reduction solutions are part of the Efficient Dynamics program of the BMW Group, which is integrated throughout the company´s fleet. Since the spring of 2007 well over one million vehicles incorporating Efficient Dynamics measures have reached customers around the world. The launch of BMW Advanced Diesel this year will deliver further potential for fuel consumption reduction in the US. Later this year, the company will also introduce innovative hybrid systems.
In addition to these efforts, the BMW Group is testing more than 600 electric MINI E vehicles both on the East and West coast of the US as well as in Germany and possibly soon in the UK to gain valuable insight and experience for a series version of an electric vehicle, which is expected to be launched by 2015. This demonstrates the BMW Group´s drive towards sustainable mobility and will help the US Government in its commitment towards a cleaner environment.