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Wissmann: German automotive industry’s environmental program is broadly accepted by the general public

Berlin, 13 August 2017

All German automakers offer environmental bonuses – clear effect on demand is expected

The German automotive industry’s environmental program is broadly accepted by the general public. “Majority of Germans welcome incentives for purchasing diesels” was the headline on August 11 in a German daily newspaper that referred to a representative survey by the Insa institute. According to the survey, 52 percent of the respondents welcome the planned trade-in bonuses offered to the drivers of older diesel passenger cars.

Almost half (48.6 percent) of the participating diesel drivers answered “Yes” to the question of whether the trade-in bonus could persuade them to bring forward the purchase of a new car.

“Those who attempted to do down the results produced by the diesel summit (on August 2) should reconsider their hasty judgments. Most people take a positive view of the measures introduced by the companies,” stressed Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). He pointed out that all the German carmakers have instituted such programs.

The environmental bonus of up to 10,000 euros (depending on the model) is available to motorists who trade in their old diesel car (Euro 4 or older) and replace it with a modern, environmentally friendly Euro 6 vehicle. For customers who switch to an electric car, there is an additional “future bonus” whose details will depend on the particular manufacturer.

“This means that the German automotive manufacturers are sending out a clear signal for renewal of the vehicle fleet in Germany and beyond. The environmental premium will encourage the switch to modern Euro 6 powertrains. In contrast to the scrapping bonus in 2009, the companies will bear all the costs of this incentive,” Wissmann underscored.

Wissmann assumes that the environmental bonuses will have a tangible impact on the demand for passenger cars.

“These instruments for replacing vehicles will make a marked contribution to improving the air quality in towns and cities. At the same time, they support the switch to electric mobility,” Wissmann continued.

The VDA president emphasized that the basic aspects of the environmental bonuses were determined and announced at the diesel summit: “The German OEMs in particular will implement the measures decided at the diesel summit quickly and comprehensively.”

The second instrument that was agreed at the diesel summit – a rapid software update for Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel passenger cars already on the roads – will, according to Wissmann, also have a marked effect: “If as a result over 5 million existing diesel cars have their nitrogen oxide emissions reduced by an average of 25 to 30 percent, that is an important lever for improving the air quality in towns and cities.”

Furthermore, the German automotive manufacturers are participating in the planned fund entitled “sustainable mobility for the city.” “We share the ambition of the German Government and the federal states that Germany should be and remain the country of viable and sustainable mobility,” Wissmann said.

According to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), nitrogen oxide emissions from road traffic in Germany already fell by around 70 percent in the period from 1990 to 2015.

Continued market penetration by the latest Euro 6 vehicles will largely resolve the remaining air quality problems. This is demonstrated in a study by AVISO and the Technical University of Graz, whose results have now been published (“Modelling the effect on air quality of Euro 6 emission factor scenarios,” Journal of Earth Science and Geotechnical Engineering, vol. 6, no. 4, 2016, p. 227-244, see also:

The study was supported by the Ministry for the Environment, the UBA, the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (ifeu) and the VDA.

The results of the study show that “natural fleet replacement” alone – not including effects of the measures passed at the diesel summit – will result in a continuous improvement in air quality. This fleet renewal will lead to more and more measuring stations remaining below the permissible NO2 limit value. In 2020, only 39 of the 144 measuring stations near road traffic will not comply with the NO2 limit value. Five years later, 12 stations will exceed the limit. This shows that the technical measures for achieving Euro 6 and RDE are effective.

Wissmann stressed: “The trade-in bonuses and software updates will accelerate this natural fleet replacement by several years.”

These measures – supplemented with local emissions-reducing instruments such as digital measures that improve the flow of traffic and reduce the volume – will resolve the issue of air quality in towns and cities within the foreseeable future.

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

Tel: +49 30 897842-120 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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