BERLIN, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) has rebuffed public criticism of his government's response to the diesel emissions scandal by a senior automotive industry executive.
Speaking during budgetary consultations in the parliament (Bundestag) on Tuesday, Scheuer urged German carmakers to make a greater effort to develop new products. "Those who speak of the challenges of the future, but do not bring the products of the future into stores quickly, are at risk of losing the world champion title in automotive production", the minister told delegates.
Scheuer's comments were made in reference to calls by Volkswagen Group chief executive Herbert Diess in the newspaper BILD for policymakers to assume a more positive attitude towards the automotive industry. Diess lamented that Germany lacked a "true auto agenda" and that "hardly anyone" in the country's party system could imagine a positive perspective for cars.
Rejecting these claims, Scheuer noted that Berlin was already subsidizing the development of cleaner propulsion technologies with billions of euros. "One would think that a lot could be created with this money". Aside from citing the production of "fantastic cars which enthrall customers" as one potential use of the funds, Scheuer chided the domestic automotive industry for neglecting the production of urgently required commercial vehicles and buses.
"It is not always about presenting highly polished design cars", Scheuer said. Instead, carmakers should also focus on bringing products onto the streets and convincing customers to buy vehicles on the basis of their daily utility and price-tag.
The minister vowed to ensure that communal governments played their part in resolving the diesel crisis as well. In light of looming driving bans in many German cities, Scheuer criticized nitrogen oxide (NOx) measurement stations at crossings or bus terminals as being inappropriate and announced that his department would review the positioning thereof.
According to Scheuer, communal government shared part of the responsibility for the mobility of German citizens.