German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the opening ceremony of the 67th Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA), Germany, on Sept. 14, 2017. (Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)
BERLIN, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged German car makers on Thursday to resolve the damage they had caused to the reputation of the country's car industry in a string of recent scandals.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA), Merkel said "the automotive industry must regain trust as fast as possible."
The IAA is Europe's largest motor show and one of the most important global events for the automotive industry. Several leading car makers, including Nissan, Peugeot and Fiat, have decided not to attend this year.
Merkel further scolded car makers for using regulatory loopholes to prevent having to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel vehicles.
"Even if it only effects a handful of companies, it still destroys a lot of trust," Merkel said.
German and international car makers now face the task of participating in retro-fitting measures for diesel motors to improve air quality.
Nevertheless, the chancellor rejected calls for outright bans on diesel combustion engines, expressing her belief that these technologies would still be in use "for decades."
Two years after the first revelations of diesel emission cheating scandals surfaced in the United States, German car makers are using the Frankfurt IAA as an opportunity to emphasize electric mobility in a bid to remake their corporate image.
Amongst others, the Volkswagen Group presented plans on Tuesday to invest 20 billion euros (24 billion U.S. dollars) in the "electrification" of its vehicles until 2030. The company aims to have every one of its roughly 300 models to be available in an electric version by that date.