VDA President Hildegard Müller
Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / dpa
Germany's car lobby sees vehicle production at risk because of the new EU emissions standard Euro 7.
Should the standard come into force in its current version, "supply and production bottlenecks could result," says Hildegard Müller, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).
Not enough models that meet the new requirements could be developed and approved in the time allotted.
The new emissions directive will apply to cars and vans from July 2025 and stipulates that vehicles must comply with applicable pollutant limits even under extreme conditions such as high temperatures.
In order to be able to prove this, more extensive measurements are required.
The car industry has long been warning that new vehicles would become more expensive due to the stricter regulations.
Above all, the production of small cars becomes unprofitable.
The atmosphere in the industry was tense around a meeting of the VDA board on Wednesday.
The boss of a car brand warned that there were not enough staff for the necessary test and approval process.
There is a lack of test capacities, both in authorities and in companies.
As a result, factories could stand still for months.
Car lobby calls for “a good cost-benefit ratio”
The automotive industry experienced a comparable scenario a few years ago when it switched to the more stringent WLTP test standard.
In many places, production was curtailed at the time, and some manufacturers had to stockpile production, partly because they had failed to adapt their vehicles to the new rules in good time.
In order to give them more time this time, VDA President Müller advocates staggered introduction dates.
This is the only way to ensure “continuous production with the appropriate security for employment and availability of a wide range of vehicles”.
In addition, the VDA proposes to significantly reduce the nitrogen oxide limit values, but to retain the so-called test boundary conditions that have applied up to now.
According to the VDA President, the necessary investments by the automotive industry should aim to reduce emissions, but also have “a good cost-benefit ratio”.
“The measures we propose will lead to a significant improvement in air quality on the streets,” promises Müller.
With the Euro 7 standard, the EU Commission wants to ensure that vehicles become significantly cleaner under real driving conditions.
The EU proposal affects emissions from exhaust systems as well as from brakes and tires - so electric cars are also covered by the regulation.
Environmental organizations consider the regulations to be completely inadequate.
Despite Euro 7, combustion vehicles will continue to emit more air pollutants than the World Health Organization has recommended, says Greenpeace.