Manufacturers need to improve: sanding requires more incentives for drivers of old diesel

Berlin / DPA

In the fight against dirty air in German cities, the Federal Transport Minister, Andreas Scheuer (CSU), urged the autocaraker to bring more seductive change offers for owners of older diesel.

"The previous purchase premiums were apparently not attractive enough, otherwise they would have used more people", he told the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung". For cars such as vans, manufacturers should improve. Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) of the Environment, however, finds such premiums inadequate and insists on modifications to engines. Scheuer repeated his concern about this. He wants to develop a new concept this week to prevent further driving bans.

Scheuer claimed that owners of older cars with high pollutant emissions should make "very attractive offers" to switch to cleaner cars. "The car manufacturers are obliged here." So you quickly get a new, clean fleet on the street – "and nobody would have to invest in the past," he said, looking at possible exhaust gas conversions to engines. After the diesel summit with politics in the summer of 2017, the German manufacturers started with "exchange premiums". They were used by more than 200,000 customers, as the companies called in July.

Schulze told the "Süddeutsche Zeitung": "Not everyone or everyone has so much money to buy a new car, even if there is a discount for it." It was neither ecologically nor economically justified, a few years old Euro Scrap 5 vehicle, which is worth much more than a retrofit cost. But driving bans could be avoided only with hardware conversions. "The only thing that really makes a difference is the technical adaptation of diesel cars in the affected regions."

Scheuer again referred to technical, legal and financial concerns, but added: "Nevertheless, we must now think in all directions." After an interview with Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) – who had long argued against hardware retrofitting – Scheuer announced a new concept that could include "technical solutions" for existing vehicles.

It is unclear how car manufacturers need to be persuaded to participate in the partially spinning software updates for 6.3 million cars. "How exactly that works will be part of this concept," said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport. The Environment Ministry criticized Scheuer's assessment that of 5.5 million passenger cars of the Euro 5 standard in the case of "at best two million", the exhaust gas cleaning on the engine could be improved. Such reliable figures do not exist from the environmental service point of view. It was agreed, however, that the 3.1 million older Euro 4 diesels could not be retrofitted.

Consumer centers warned that exchange premiums should be more than a sales promotion program. "All diesel owners, who can no longer use their cars because of driving bans, must be able to expect an offer from the car manufacturers," said the head of the Federal Consumer Association, Klaus Müller. "Reasonable here is the repurchase of their vehicle at fair value plus 1000 euros." Greens Group Vice Oliver Krischer told the German news agency: "The manufacturers will not be making attractive offers to the 15-year-old driver's diesel cars ordering a new car. Whoever wants to avoid a driving ban must finally make adjustments.

The background to the debate is that diesel drivers are threatening a driving ban in more and more cities because air pollution is greater than what is permitted in the EU. In view of the recent ruling on driving bans in Frankfurt am Main next year, the CDU leadership around Merkel has opened for hardware retrofits. In Hessen, a new state parliament will be elected on 28 October. FDP faction Vice Michael Theurer criticized: "After three years of slumber of the federal government, it is in the diesel scandal from 5 to 12." The cuddle of Scheuer and Merkel with the car manufacturers must be stopped.

Information from the Federal Environmental Agency on diesel and air pollution

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