U.S. Federal Government Shutdown May Delay New Car Launches

EPA certifications may be suspended until the government shutdown is resolved

2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid

The U.S. federal government has now been in a partial shutdown for the past 28 days. The Detroit Auto Show brought the next batch of cool new cars and trucks to light. However, we may not see them as soon as we originally thought, as the shutdown has affected EPA certifications for new cars.

Why would the Shutdown affect new car launches?

Ford’s President of Global Markets, Jim Farley, spoke at the Automotive News World Congress earlier this week. In his speech, he pointed out that new cars need government certification in order to make it to market. This is especially crucial for emissions testing. The EPA is a government branch. When the government is shut down, so is emissions testing. Thus, many automakers are stuck waiting in lines until the government re-opens.

Ford may suffer several setbacks

Ford recently unveiled a couple of new cars, and SUVs set to hit the market this year. Included in this list are vehicles like the 2020 Lincoln Aviator, the 2020 Ford Explorer and the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Those cars are a ways from hitting the market, so the launches may not be significantly delayed quite yet. However, the shutdown does not have a clear end in sight (at time of writing), so the situation could worsen if it continues much longer.

Of course, Ford isn’t the only manufacturer who could be affected by this. Automakers that recently launched a new car, truck or SUV could be severely affected. Ram trucks, in particular, might have a hard time hitting their spring 2019 launch schedule with the brand-new 2019 Heavy Duty Ram pickups.

2020 Lincoln Aviator

Fortunately, President Trump did recently sign a bill into law that plans to compensate government workers, “for wages lost, work performed, or leave used during a lapse in appropriations that begins on or after December 22, 2018, and entitles excepted employees to use leave during a lapse in appropriations.” As it stands, workers won’t get paid until after the Government re-opens.

Whether or not future vehicle launches will actually be delayed is unclear. However, it may be inevitable if EPA agents are not working to certify manufacturers’ emissions claims or test emissions firsthand.

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