"In talks with the German government, the German automobile manufacturers have agreed to incentive programs at the level of the individual companies for renewal of the vehicle population. In the near future, the manufacturers will make very attractive offers to customers in 14 cities with especially high air pollution.
Avoiding driving bans remains our foremost goal. We are therefore looking for quick and targeted solutions. The German government's proposals are an opportunity to put the current debate on an objective basis and thus restore confidence in diesel technology. Clearly, the cities and municipalities will also have to assume responsibility, e.g. update their air pollution control plans, to further improve air quality.
To settle the still open questions and points in the German government's plan, further talks are necessary.
The German automotive industry already contributes to improved urban air quality in cities via software updates for millions of diesel passenger cars, trade-in bonuses, and participation in the "clean air funds." These measures have been effective; the number of cities with high air pollution is declining steadily.
Now the companies are again distinctly expanding their offers beyond the present initiatives and initiating a broad-based renewal program called "New for Old." This program will rapidly put new "Euro 6" passenger cars – cars with lower fuel consumption and distinctly lower pollutant emissions – onto German roads. In return, the percentage of older diesel cars in the vehicle population will drop.
This program, which includes trade-ins of older diesel passenger cars for newer low-emissions models – and will thus ensure continued individual mobility for many people – has several advantages: air quality in cities with especially high air-pollution levels will improve rapidly, automobile drivers will have planning security and will still be able to drive into downtown areas, and CO2 emissions will decrease. Most importantly, the renewal program will produce results fast.
In contrast to the renewal program, every hardware retrofit has disadvantages: it takes time before it shows results and the CO2 emissions of the retrofitted vehicles rise.
BMW, Daimler and the Volkswagen Corporation are making enormous concessions in advance. For a comprehensive approach to improved air quality, the contribution of the foreign markets is indispensable."