In an attempt to limit the pollution emitted by diesel vehicles, the German government has asked carmakers to aid in the reduction of nitrogen oxides by offering trade-in deals and hardware fixes for customers with diesel vehicles. This ambitious strategy has certainly disturbed the car industry, but will it be enough to create an impactful change for German cities?
The government’s plan is to diminish vehicles that release harmful emissions and keep new, cleaner car models on the road. Germany requested carmakers to provide an option for upgrades and trade-ins that would appeal to the consumers.
Germany wanted to make sure that they could handle the large amount of pollution without having to create driving bans. Instead, they left the responsibility to the carmakers, causing some disruption in the industry. Trade-ins would not be much of a problem, but upgrades and retrofits would cost companies many Euros. Companies do not want to absorb these high costs, but would rather pay the upgrade costs than risk having a driving ban in their city, and thus decreasing their sales.
Volkswagen, the German automotive manufacturing company, has announced that it would authorize a trade-in bonus program in order to support the government’s plan to decrease diesel emissions. This comes after the German automaker revealed that they had manipulated the tests to gauge diesel emissions in their vehicles. Since the scandal, Volkswagen has now agreed to help by paying the trade-in value for their customers’ vehicle and offer incentives for trade-ins.
One question was whether foreign carmakers would comply with these new restrictions. The government hopes that foreign companies will follow domestic carmakers’ lead and implement trade-in offers as well. So far, French automaker Renault, stated that they would offer cash incentives to German owners, in order to boost clean car sales.
The problem of older diesel vehicles is similar across most European cities. Hamburg has already implemented diesel bans and other cities plan to follow suit. Berlin is now contemplating whether they should impose bans in some parts of the city but are hoping that carmakers can create a plan to lower emissions before anything more drastic is done.
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