Diesel Dilemma

Foreign carmakers silent on emissions

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One in four diesel cars on German streets is foreign made. Source: Reuters/Srdjan Zivulovic

The pledges made by German automakers at last week’s diesel summit in Berlin to cut nitrogen oxide emissions to stave off city bans have put importers of foreign brands in a quandary.

They too now find themselves under pressure from Germans and the federal and regional governments to join in the national effort to clean up diesel and restore the “Made in Germany” brand.

Reinhard Zirpel, the president of the VDIK Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers which represents 35 overseas brands, was sharply criticized for coming to the summit empty-handed.

“Not acceptable,” German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt grumbled after the meeting, referring to the VDIK’s alleged refusal to contribute. However, apart from Opel and Ford, no top-level managers from foreign makers were invited.

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