FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Foreign carmakers should contribute to a proposed German fund set up to improve urban transport infrastructure, BMW CEO Harald Krueger has said, just days after a deal was reached to cut pollution and avert a ban on diesel engines.
“It would send a good signal if they would participate,” Krueger told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS).
Under an agreement reached on Wednesday, German carmakers and the government will contribute equally to a 500 million euro ($589 million) fund aimed at helping local governments reduce pollution, including introducing systems to improve traffic flows and public transport.
Krueger said it remained to be seen how much BMW would pay and that it would depend on market share in Germany. Last year, BMW had a 9.2 percent share of Germany’s car market, third behind Volkswagen’s 19.6 percent and Daimler’s 10.4 percent, according to vehicle authority KBA.
“So far we only have clear commitments from the three German manufacturers, the others have not commented so far,” he said.
The agreement also includes the overhaul of engine software on 5.3 million diesel cars, aimed at repairing the industry’s battered reputation.
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said physical changes to Euro-5 and Euro-6 models would also be considered by a national task force on diesel emissions.
“The topic is not off the table at all; we’re only just getting started,” she told FAS.
She said no solution could be ruled out completely, and warned German carmakers to “get off their high horse”.
Krueger defended the measures – announced almost two years after Volkswagen admitted to cheating U.S. diesel emissions tests – following criticism from environmentalists that the plans are insufficient.
“At the diesel summit ambitious packages were agreed on,” he told FAS.
The government expects implementation of the carmakers’ commitments by the end of next year, Deputy Economy Minister Matthias Machnig wrote in a column in the Tagesspiegel newspaper.
“We will monitor whether this takes place,” he said.
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Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Jason Neely and Louise Ireland