02 Aug 2017, 00:00
Sven Egenter

"Win for car industry" - First reactions to German diesel summit

German carmakers have pledged to update the software in some 5 million diesel cars to lower emissions at the so-called "diesel summit", where leaders of the industry met with federal ministers and heads of federal states. Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen also announced to pay a bonus for customers who bought a new car in exchange for an older diesel vehicle. They will also pay several hundred million euros into a government fund to create master plans for new mobility in German cities. Following are first reactions to the outcome of the summit. [Update adds Kauder]

Volker Kauder, leader CDU/CSU parliamentary group

“The car industry has to get off their high horse. […] Germany has to lead an all-encompassing honest discussion about the future of the car after this summit. This summit can only be the start of this debate. Car production is a core part of our economy and therefore affects us all. The same is obviously true for the protection of the environment and of consumers.
Diesel and combustion engines must not be demonised. This technology can be further improved in the interest of the environment, also through the development of low-emission fuels. However, e-mobility will play an increasing role, because internationally there’s more and more a focus on it. You have to note however that the production of the vehicles and in particular the batteries hurt the environment.”


Jürgen Resch, Deutsche Umwelthilfe DUH

“Once more the German car industry has won impressively against the federal and state governments. The politicians refrain from setting clear requirements as if there had not been a fraudulent cartel for the past 20 years. […] Today’s summit is bad news for hundreds of thousands of people who fall sick. […] The DUH will continue with its law suits in 16 cities and force through the driving bans decided in several cities.”


Benjamin Stephan, transport expert Greenpeace

"The myth of the 5 million software updates is as wrong as the emission results of German cars. They do barely create cleaner air, and a large part of the call-backs has happened before the summit. Instead of protecting millions of people from diesel emissions, the government put a dying motor under the oxygen tent. Clean diesel is too expensive for the carmakers and politicians let them get away with it.”


Klaus Müller, head of consumer protection agency VZBV

“The government and the car industry have driven the summit against the wall. […] It’s self-evident that manufacturers pay for the cost of software updates. You did not need a summit for that. The bonus for exchanging [old diesel cars] should be appreciated. […] The uncertainties for consumers remain: Can they continue to use their car?”

Find the full statement in German here.


Eberhard Brandes, managing director at WWF Germany:

“Politicians have completely failed in the transport sector. […] The software updates are not an adequate response to the complete failure of the past. […] The German car industry puts health, economic stability and the climate at risk with its lack of innovations. […] This should be reason enough to have open discussions about an e-car quota and a ban of the combustion engine.”

Find the full statement in German here.


Harald Krüger, chairman board of BMW

“[…] we are convinced that the mobility of the future must be sustainable mobility. We are driving the transition as hard and as fast as possible and have launched more electrified vehicles than any of our established competitors. […] Future mobility will definitely depend on state-of-the-art diesels as well, because environmental protection has several dimensions: one of them is the fight against climate change.”

Find the full statement in English here.


Roman Zitzelsberger, Baden-Württtemberg head of union IG Metall

"Effective rules for the reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions in urban centres, binding guidelines for updates of diesel vehicles and a joint fund are a significant step forward. It’s unsatisfactory that the agreements have no legal framework. Therefore, the risk of driving bans, the concerns of owners of older diesel cars and the worries over negative effects on jobs remain.”

Find the full statement in German here.


Background on the diesel issue on the Clean Energy Wire:

Daily updates in the news digest, the search, or on Twitter @cleanenergywire
Article: "Why the German diesel summit matters for climate and energy"
“Diesel summit comes two years too late”
Factsheet: The debate over an end to combustion engines in Germany
Article: Reactions to allegations over German carmaker cartel
Dossier: The Energiewende and German carmakers
Dossier: The energy transition and Germany’s transport sector

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