The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, Germany has dealt a serious blow to the country’s automakers as it has ruled cities can ban older diesel-powered vehicles.
According to Reuters, Daimler’s hometown of Stuttgart could ban Euro-4 vehicles in January while Euro-5 models could be banned starting in the fall of 2019. Some cities are being more proactive as Hamburg has already announced it will begin to place limits on diesel-powered vehicles within the next few months.
Environmental activists are cheering the ruling but it hasn’t gone over well with a number of politicians and owners of diesel vehicles. German Transport Minister Christian Schmidt was one of the critics as he declared “We must do everything possible to prevent the loss of personal freedom and the reduction in value of cars.”
These will be two of the main challenges going forward as people who own older diesel vehicles could be significantly impacted. Not only could be they banned from driving their vehicles in cities but their car’s value could become a small fraction of what it used to be. In essence, used car shoppers aren’t likely to purchase a vehicle that can only be driven in certain locations.
If bans become widespread, it could cause serious problems as there are approximately 15 million diesel-powered vehicles in Germany. Only around 2.7 million meet Euro-6 regulations which means there are roughly 12.3 million vehicles which could be banned from cities in the near future.
Germany’s automakers have remained relatively quiet following the announcement but the president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Matthias Wissmann, said the Federal Administrative Court “considers that diesel driving bans in cities are ‘generally permitted’ under applicable law, but they must be proportionate and only be considered as a last resort.” The organization also called on politicians to work together to create “legal clarity” and prevent a “patchwork of different regulations” in individual cities.
Regardless of what happens, many believe the ruling will help usher in the decline of diesel engines in Europe.