21 January, 2019

VW to extend diesel incentive across Germany as further bans likely

Volkswagen (VW) may be looking to extend its trade-in scheme for older diesels to cover the whole of Germany, a move that has been welcomed by the country’s government.

Currently, the carmaker has a scheme that allows owners of older models in the 15 most polluted cities in Germany to trade in their cars and receive up to €9,000 towards a cleaner model. This is in part due to the number of bans on more polluting diesels in some German cities.

‘The Volkswagen Group is currently examining a limited-time nationwide offer for the exchange premium, which is granted when a Euro 4 or Euro 5 diesel vehicle is entered into a trade-in,’ a company spokesman said.‘ The responsible board committees are expected to make decisions later this month.’

Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer described the news as a good move for the country. ‘The largest German carmaker is the first provider that makes all diesel owners in Germany a really good exchange offer for cleaner cars.’ He said. At the same time, he tried to increase the pressure on the competition. ’I hope that the other automakers will provide such good news in the interests of their customers,’ he added.

Carmakers have already promised to offer up to €3,000 per vehicle in exchange for retrofitting exhaust systems with more environmentally friendly options, in an effort to prevent further diesel bans. However, green groups suggest these measures will not be enough.

Würzburg ban

VW’s measures may be too late to prevent a further driving ban being implemented in the country. The environmental group DUH, which has brought some legal actions against authorities and therefore caused implementations of bans, is seeking action in the city of Würzburg.

According to a spokeswoman, the DUH is calling for a change to the city of Würzburg's clean air plan, because a road in the city area is still threatening to exceed the nitrogen dioxide limit for several years. In its complaint, the DUH explicitly emphasises the possibility of prohibiting traffic.

So far, the city has exceeded the limits in several places, and its air pollution control plan up to 2025 predicts too high a nitrogen dioxide value and the measures are not enough for the DUH to avoid legal action. ‘We are not questioning the measures, but they will only be effective in the medium and long term, not in the short term,’ said DUH Division Manager for Traffic and Air Pollution, Dorothee Saar.

The lawsuit was received on Wednesday at the Bavarian Administrative Court in Munich. It is directed against the Free State of Bavaria, represented by the government of Lower Franconia.