America’s love affair with full-sized pickups would be sorely put to the test, with prices soaring beyond $100,000, if France’s proposed new CO2 emissions tariffs were applied in the United States new vehicle market.
France’s CO2 tariffs applied in America would push the base price of the best-selling Ford F-Series from $37,000 to $100,106, the second-ranked Chevrolet Silverado from $37,445 to $100,551 and the third-ranked RAM 1500 from $39,990 to $103,006.
The top three-selling vehicles in America combined for 1.63 million sales last year.
The $63,106 peak tariff would hit nine other top 20-ranked vehicles in the U.S. as well, including the GMC Sierra, the Toyota Tacoma, the Chevrolet Equinox, the Toyota Highlander, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Ford Explorer, the Jeep Wrangler and the Hyundai Tucson.
The new sliding-scale tariffs, proposed to apply to the French new car market from next year, will see many top-end cars and SUVs double and even triple in price in France with a sliding scale that starts at just €50 and tops out at €60,000 ($63,106).
But it only takes around 23mpg (or 194 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometer) to breach the maximum tariff rate, which means it would apply to seven out of the 10 best-selling vehicles in the U.S. last year.
Cars, SUVs and trucks would have to achieve a fuel-consumption figure of 46.7mpg to avoid the sliding scale’s impact, which begins in France at 117 grams/km.
While most of the U.S.’ top 20 vehicles to reach the French maximum figure are SUVs or trucks, even Toyota’s Camry would attract the maximum tariff, lifting the purchase price of its base (non-hybrid) model from $29,000 to a stunning $92,106.
The only vehicles in the U.S. top 20 sellers that would remain unaffected by the application of the French tariffs here would be the Tesla Model Y (9th) and the Tesla Model 3 (15th).
The two electric cars, which are the most expensive (Model Y) and second most expensive (Model 3) in the top 20, would leap to fourth and fifth cheapest, behind only the Toyota Corolla, the Nissan Rogue and the Honda Accord.
The average of the French new-car fleet sits at 108.6 grams/km of CO2, according to the peak ACEA car industry body, beneath the 117 gram/km trigger point for the CO2 tariffs.
Even so, many regular French commuter cars will be hit by the new tariff proposal, with some humble machines jumping 50% in price to meet France’s ambition to become the first developed nation to abandon fossil fuels altogether.
The 2024 tariffs will apply to every vehicle in France’s top 10 new cars sold last year, all of which were French-made or French-owned, though some of the models have EV variants.
While the French car industry is dominated by small, B-segment cars and compact SUVs, that’s very much not the case in North America, where large trucks and SUV dominate.
Here, even a humble Toyota Corolla, the 12th most popular new car in the U.S. last year, would be slugged $3119 for emitting 155 grams/km of CO2.
The idea behind the French Government’s 2024 tariffs is to encourage French motorists to lower transport emissions by utilising the country’s clean electricity grid via electric cars, which French automakers Peugeot, Citroen and Renault all offer, instead of combustion power.