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Maileen Zander VDA - Verband der Automobilindustrie

Call for a global standard refrigerant

German automotive industry presses for a worldwide innovative solution

Frankfurt am Main, 28 May 2009. "The German automotive industry is putting its energy into the most advanced technologies and the most efficient vehicles, which will relieve customers' wallets and help protect the climate," said Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). "For this reason we are not only raising the efficiency of conventional engines, but are also working intensively on developing alternative powertrains for series production. We believe that effective climate protection includes all parts of the automobile. Therefore, two years ago, the German automotive industry became the first in the world to start working on the development of air-conditioning systems that significantly reduce the GWP (Global Warming Potential), and has always expressed its support for a global standard," the VDA president added. "Unfortunately, to date this idea has not been given a very warm reception outside of Germany. However, a common agreement among all vehicle manufacturers on a standard refrigerant to be used worldwide is the only appropriate response to the challenge of achieving the greatest economic and ecological benefit."

German suppliers in particular are doing a lot to advance the development and application of natural refrigerants. New refrigerants open up completely new possibilities in cooling while at the same time improving efficiency, thus benefiting the environment and promoting climate protection, the VDA stated. However, the continuing development of vehicle air-conditioning systems requires considerable funding for research. In the opinion of the VDA, it is very unlikely that investigation of natural and chemical refrigerants can be done in parallel, and impossible for the Germans or Europeans to develop a solution of their own, in view of the state of the global market. "We need agreement on a worldwide standard to maintain the competitiveness of the European automotive industry. Separate individual solutions are not an option," Wissmann declared. "We are continuing to focus on the most climate-friendly solution and hope that Asian, American and French manufacturers, for example, will also work towards a common standard. We have therefore now written to all vehicle-makers worldwide asking for a common strategy on this important topic."