The fact that Volkswagen was caught cheating on its emission tests initially seemed to be an issue which would affect the VAG Group alone, but some of us expected it to send a shock-wave through the entire industry. BMW and other manufacturers are currently feeling the pressure coming in from the ruling bodies of the EU, having to accelerate the development of hybrid and electric vehicles at a faster pace than they would’ve preferred. And even though the Bavarians have been quiet up until now, a recent statement from Klaus Frolich, the head of the R&D department in Munich shows the tremendous pressure the engineers are working under right now and who they consider to blame for it.
During the speeches held last week by Frolich and BMW CEO Harald Kruger ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show the former said “The actions of some have severely compromised the credibility and trustworthiness of our industry. As a result, we now face tighter – and sometimes irrational – approaches to legislation. Around the world, regulations on fuel consumption, emissions and safety are changing faster than ever before.” That’s a definite hint at Volkswagen and their actions, no matter how you look at it.
Even so, the man was quick to point out a couple of facts about the efforts BMW has put into cutting CO2 levels for over 20 years now, the company starting to infuse EfficientDynamics technology into its cars from the end of the 1990s. “We were the only ones to deliver on the voluntary agreement on CO2 emissions – since 1995, we have cut our average fleet emissions by over 40 percent” he said. “And when it comes to cutting emissions, we don’t just follow the letter of the law. We deliver on its principles. Independent tests show that our emissions are the lowest. And we use superior technologies to our competitors,” Frolich added.
And indeed, independent test confirm that BMW has the lowest emissions of the German manufacturers, followed by Mercedes-Benz. Even so, the Dieselgate scandal still affected the Germans directly, for example when a magazine in Germany published a story, claiming that the Bavarian brand also manipulated tests. Even though it turned out to be fake, the article prompted a drop in shares for the BMW Group that cost them several millions in a matter of days.