Today, during an emergency summit in Berlin, CEOs and top managers of Germany’s largest automakers will discuss the future of the diesel with government representatives. Bosses of Volkswagen, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz will try to convince ministers and state leaders that the technology could be optimized to meet the stricter emissions standards.
"The manufacturers will play their part to improve air quality in cities and make diesel fit for the future," Matthias Wissmann, head of German auto lobby VDA, commented "Diesel is enormously important for climate protection as well as prosperity in Germany."
In an official statement, VDA announced automakers will offer an engine control software update for its Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel vehicles, which will reduce NOx levels by at least 25 percent on average. It is expected that the government will accept the software update for at least two million vehicles in the country.
As a part of the deal, automakers will agree to also invest into more electric charging stations, as well as to contribute a fund aimed at helping local governments reduce NOx emissions, which are linked to respiratory diseases.
So far, only the local automakers have agreed to update the software of their diesel cars, as foreign manufacturers selling diesels in Germany have not yet reached a consensus through the association that represents them, the VDIK.
Balancing the crisis in the German auto industry is a difficult task, as Automotive News points out, because it gives a job to every fifth employee in the country. Also, the sector accounts for more than half of the country's trade surplus.
"The significance of the car industry is extremely high,” Carsten Brzeski, Frankfurt-based chief economist at ING-Diba, commented.
“VW is more important to Germany's economy than Greece."
"The industry has to find a solution together with government over how to face the big questions head on around the structural transformation."
During the first six months of the year, diesels accounted for 41.3 percent of the total new car sales in Germany. That’s a decline compared to last year, when this number was 46.9. Thanks to this, Germany is on track to post first rise in CO2 levels from its new-car fleet since 1990, as. in general, diesel engines emit about 20 percent less CO2 than an equivalent gasoline motor.