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Old 12-11-2006, 11:32 PM   #1
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2005 Legacy GT Sedan

Default Japan to Impose Tougher Fuel-Efficiency Rules for Automakers

Japan to Impose Tougher Fuel-Efficiency Rules for Automakers


By Tetsuya Komatsu and Naoko Fujimura

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Japan, the world's second-largest auto market, is planning to impose new rules on carmakers including Toyota Motor Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG, that will require them to raise the fuel economy of their vehicles.

The country's trade and transport ministries will draft proposals for new fuel-efficiency standards for gasoline and diesel vehicles later this month, Yo****aka Takeya, a Tokyo- based trade ministry official, said today. The rules will apply to all manufacturers that compete in the country, he said.

Currently, about 80 percent of gasoline-powered passenger cars in Japan meet fuel-economy standards. All automakers are required to improve the fuel economy of gasoline vehicles by about 23 percent by fiscal 2010 from the level in fiscal 1995.

The government will seek comments from the public before tougher fuel-efficiency standards, Takeya said.

The government plans to make automakers improve fuel efficiency of vehicles by about 20 percent by fiscal 2015 from the level in fiscal 2004, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported earlier today, without saying where it got the information. The standards, which will introduce 15 to 20 vehicle classifications from the current nine, would be the world's toughest, the report said.

Toyota is the world's largest maker of hybrid vehicles, and sales of the Prius and other fuel-efficient hybrids have aided its reputation among environmentalists and helped boost its U.S. sales to records this year.
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