BMW chair­man claims ‘our cars are clean’

The Irish Times - Business - - BUSINESS NEWS - MICHAEL McALEER in Frankfurt

“We have never ma­nip­u­lated our cars, our cars are clean. There is no cheat­ing in the BMW Group.” That was the open­ing mes­sage from BMW chair­man Har­ald Kruger at the Frankfurt auto show, ad­dress­ing the re­cent scan­dals that have en­gulfed the Ger­man car in­dus­try.

In­stead of the usual stilted pre­sen­ta­tion the BMW boss did a sit-down in­ter­view with jour­nal­ist Dr Hajo Schu­macher. With a prom­ise of no pre-agreed ques­tions, the dis­cus­sion moved from the diesel cheat­ing scan­dal to the al­le­ga­tions of car­tel ac­tiv­ity be­tween the Ger­man car firms.

Mr Kruger did de­fend in prin­ci­ple dis­cus­sions be­tween car firms. “Talks be­tween man­u­fac­tur­ers are noth­ing new. Think of the plug for elec­tric cars; if there is no co­op­er­a­tion on stan­dard­i­s­a­tion this would not be in the in­ter­est of cus­tomers.”

The Frankfurt show marks the sec­ond an­niver­sary of VW’s ad­mis­sion that it fit­ted so-called de­feat de­vices to cheat US emis­sions tests. Since then diesel’s rep­u­ta­tion has been bat­tered.

The fall­out has forced car firms to make se­ri­ous com­mit­ments to elec­tri­fy­ing their of­fer­ings. At the show, VW Group chief ex­ec­u­tive Matthias Mueller un­veiled sweep­ing plans to build elec­tric ver­sions of all 300 mod­els in the group’s line-up as the world’s largest au­tomaker tries to draw a line un­der the emis­sions-cheat­ing scan­dal. Mueller vowed to spend €20 bil­lion to de­velop and bring the mod­els to mar­ket by 2030.

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