BERLIN, March 1 (Xinhua) -- The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv) on Thursday urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to weigh in on the issue of diesel motor upgrades.
"The political pressure on the automotive industry has to become much bigger," vzbv-president Klaus Mueller told newspaper Rheinische Post, "The consumers cannot be left to shoulder the costs of necessary changes alone."
In a recent landmark case, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled that cities can impose driving bans on certain types of diesel vehicles to reduce nitrogen oxide pollution. While such measures would have to be proportionate and phased in gradually, they are valid as a last resort to remain within European Union (EU) clean air regulations.
Reacting to this recent development, vzbv announced on Thursday that it was looking into the possibility of filing legal claims for damages against carmakers and municipal governments suffered due to a related depreciation in the value of diesel vehicles.
Echoing several of the concerns voiced by the vzbv, German minister for the environment Barbara Hendricks (SPD) reiterated her desire in the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Thursday to hold the automotive industry responsible for illicit corporate behavior in the ongoing "dieselgate".
"Whoever can and wants to upgrade their diesel vehicle should be entitled to reclaim resulting costs from the manufacturers," Hendricks argued.
So far, carmakers have vehemently opposed more expensive technical upgrades of diesel motors and have instead advocated changing the software of affected vehicles.