By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co on Friday joined General Motors Co in exiting a group of automakers that had backed U.S. President Donald Trump in his bid to prevent California from imposing its own vehicle emissions rules.

GM last week reversed course in an ongoing court fight and abandoned the outgoing Republican president, winning praise from Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20.

“We are confident that productive conversations among the auto industry, the Biden administration and California can deliver a common-sense set of national standards that increases efficiency and meets the needs of all American drivers,” Nissan said in a statement.

GM had joined Nissan, Toyota Motor Corp, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and other automakers in October 2019 in support of Trump effort’s to bar California from setting its own fuel-efficiency rules, or zero-emission requirements, for vehicles – separate from federal requirements.

Others still backing Trump include Mazda Motor Corp, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors Corp Mitsubishi Motors Corp, Subaru Corp and the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The industry still remained split on how to move forward after it held a meeting Tuesday.

Biden has made boosting electric vehicles a top priority and pledged to spend billions of dollars to add 550,000 charging stations for such vehicles. He also supports new tax credits for purchases of electric vehicles and retrofitting factories for their production.

Ford Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, Volkswagen AG and BMW AG in July 2019 struck a voluntary agreement with California on reducing vehicle emissions that is less stringent than rules previously adopted under President Barack Obama but higher than the Trump administration’s rollback.

Ford has urged other automakers to back the California framework as a way to move forward.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Will Dunham)

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