Ford Germany has decided against participating in an industry-wide software update program for diesel automobiles in the country, Automotive News Europe reports. The automaker contends that software updates to its diesel-powered passenger vehicles would provide “negligible customer benefit and have no real impact on air quality,” and fears that the program could create “unrealistic” expectations from authorities and other organizations.
BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen have all agreed to take part in the program, with plans to recall and update the powertrain software of some 5 million Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel vehicles in Germany in an effort to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Ford, instead of participating, is planning to offer incentives ranging from €2k to €8k (about $2,300 to $9,400 US) for customers to trade in Euro 1, 2, and 3 diesel vehicles registered in 2006 or earlier for newer cars.
Ford’s choice to decline participating could mean that its diesel vehicles will need to be banned from certain urban areas with poor air quality – a fact that the automaker has accepted, according to ANE. “No measures – including restrictions on vehicles in certain emission hot spots – should be ruled out,” says Ford Germany Sales and Marketing Director Wolfgang Kopplin says. Both Stuttgart and Munich are reportedly considering instituting such bans.
Ford and other import automakers have been criticized for their refusal to recall and update their diesel automobiles in the country, with German Transportation Minister Alexander Dobrindt saying he’s “made it very clear… that the behavior exhibited by the foreign manufacturers is entirely unacceptable. Whoever wants to retain their share of the German market must be prepared to accept responsibility for the cities, for public health and cleaner air, and these manufacturers are not yet meeting their responsibilities.”