Schroeder to host keycar industry summit

7th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

7 June 2004 , BERLIN - Top figures from the Europe's key car industry are to meet German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Monday amid reports they would demand a delay in environmental legislation that will add to the price of new diesel-powered cars. According to government officials the key topic of the talks is to be the general competitiveness of the industry. However analysts said the talks would bring to a head a long struggle by Volkswagen against particulate filters on diesels. The German company conte

7 June 2004

BERLIN - Top figures from the Europe's key car industry are to meet German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Monday amid reports they would demand a delay in environmental legislation that will add to the price of new diesel-powered cars.

According to government officials the key topic of the talks is to be the general competitiveness of the industry. However analysts said the talks would bring to a head a long struggle by Volkswagen against particulate filters on diesels.

The German company contends that its turbo diesel technology can reduce the smoke from diesels and opposes the introduction of filters as embraced by other car manufacturers. Diesel cars are common in Europe because the fuel is less heavily taxed than petrol.

The meeting is reported to include Volkswagen chief executive Bernd Pischetsrieder in his capacity as president of ACEA, the European carmakers' body, as well as Scania chief Leif Ostling and Ford of Europe head Louis Booth.

Industry observers predicted pressure on the government to drop plans to subsidize particulate filters from next year, a move that would give other brands a price advantage over Volkswagen until it can catch up.

They expect the industry to warn Schroeder that car sales were already sluggish, with May sales of less than 300,000 cars, more than 4 percent less than a year ago, and anything making a car more expensive would hurt the industry.

Diesel engines generate significantly higher emissions than petrol engines of particles, which are formed by incomplete combustion of fuel. Composed of elemental carbon, heavy hydrocarbons and hydrated sulphuric acid, some of the particles can reportedly cause cancer.

Analysts said the industry would likely also speak out against renewed suggestions by German environmentalists that a 130- kilometre/hour speed limit be imposed on the nation's highways, where there is no limit at all on most stretches.

The industry contends a limit would take the fun out of motoring. Environmentalists say a limit would reduce national fuel use and pollution, since car engines would run slower with less exhaust.

DPA

Subject: German news

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