CAFE and the U.S. Auto Industry: A Growing Auto Investor Issue, 2012-2020 1

Tue, 04 Dec 2007 16:00:00 GMT

A briefing hosted by the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) on key findings of a new analysis by Citi and INCR titled CAFE and the U.S. Auto Industry: A Growing Auto Investor Issue, 2012-2020, which shows that automakers’ shareholders can thrive while the automakers build cars and trucks that are better for our health and reduce global warming pollution.

Automakers have an opportunity to both advance fuel efficiency technology and become more globally competitive and sustainable in the process. The report’s results found that increasing corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards by 2012 could modestly benefit General Motors, while foreign automakers profits are largely unaffected.

In order to assess how Wall Street should react to an increase in fuel economy, Citi’s Equity & Debt Research group teamed up with the Investor Network on Climate Risk – which represents over $4 trillion in institutional investors – along with industry experts at the Planning Edge, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, and NRDC to conduct a forward-looking simulation of the five-year earnings impacts of changes to the CAFE program.

Panelists
  • Russell Read, Chief Investment Officer, CalPERS ($208 billion public pension fund)
  • Walter McManus, Director, University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute
  • David Gardiner, Senior Advisor to the Investor Network on Climate Risk (formerly Executive Director of President Clinton’s White House Climate Change Task Force and EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Policy)

The analysis employed a complex proprietary model combining supply- and demand-side simulations with Citi’s financial models. The report finds that tougher CAFE standards can be met “with modest additions of existing technologies” and will likely be “most beneficial to GM and least beneficial to Chrysler.” Other key findings:

  • Most automakers’ earnings will be largely unaffected by the CAFE standards in the 2012 time horizon, but some companies, like GM, could gain as much as $0.25 per share.
  • Automakers are expected to modestly shift their sales mix to more fuel-efficient models to meet tougher CAFE standards, but the most profit-maximizing approach appears to be through investments in fuel-savings technologies-higher efficiency internal combustion engines, in particular-applied to cars and trucks.
  • Suppliers of technologies such as turbochargers, automated manual transmissions and diesel engine fuel injectors may gain $4.3billion in growth by 2012 and even more by 2020.

For more information contact Miranda Anderson at: anderson@ceres.org or 202-285-2018; or, Ladeene Freimuth at: 202-550-2306 or ladeene@freimuthgroup.com.

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