BMW chairman claims ‘our cars are clean’
“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.