- Title: German ministers and carmakers meet to 'save diesel'
- Date: 2nd August 2017
- Summary: VARIOUS OF BICYCLES IN PROTEST
- Embargoed: 16th August 2017 15:19
- Keywords: diesel summit emissions German carmakers protest Greenpeace
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA0026SGQO1Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: German ministers and car bosses held crisis talks on Wednesday (August 2), seeking to cut inner-city pollution to avert outright bans on diesel cars in a belated attempt to restore the tarnished reputation of the country's auto industry.
Since Volkswagen admitted to cheating U.S. diesel emissions tests in September 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has come under fire for not doing enough to crack down on vehicle pollution and for being too close to powerful carmakers.
The issue has become a central campaign topic ahead of national elections next month and the government is keen to show it is taking action as environmental groups go to the courts to try to force major cities to ban diesel vehicles.
But ministers are also wary of angering the drivers of 15 million diesel vehicles and damaging an industry that is the country's biggest exporter and provides about 800,000 jobs.
The stakes have increased for the German car industry in recent weeks. Britain and France have announced plans to eventually ban all diesel and petrol vehicles and Tesla has launched its first mass-market electric car.
Meanwhile, top German carmakers BMW, Daimler, Audi, Porsche and VW are being investigated by European regulators for alleged anti-competitive collusion.
An opinion poll published on Wednesday by Die Welt newspaper showed 73 percent of Germans want politicians to take a tougher line with the car industry on air pollution.
German car sales data on Wednesday showed diesel car sales fell 12.7 percent in July. Now diesel makes up only 40.5 percent of new car sales in Europe's largest car market, down from 46 percent at the end last year.
Activists from environmental group Greenpeace hung a banner across the facade of the German transport ministry on Wednesday proclaiming "Welcome to Fort NOX", a play on the abbreviation for the toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted by diesel vehicles.
Meanwhile, the summit had been moved to the interior ministry.
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