BERLIN – A German court rang the death knell for dirty diesel cars on Tuesday, striking a blow to the country’s flagship auto industry that could now be forced to spend billions to upgrade or replace millions of cars, according to a report from Dow Jones.
Rejecting an appeal of a lower court decision, the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig has opened the door for German cities – including the hometowns of German auto icons Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi – to ban diesel vehicles from urban traffic to reduce pollution.
The ruling is likely to accelerate the demise of a technology that German auto makers have pushed as a panacea that provides solid driving performance, fuel economy and low emissions, but which has been largely discredited in the wake of widespread emissions cheating at Volkswagen AG and other auto makers.
“We expect that the first diesel bans will be implemented within the next three to six months as a result of this ruling,” said Jürgen Resch, director of Environmental Action Germany, the non-profit group that launched the original lawsuit.
Analysts estimate it could cost the auto industry up to 8 billion euros ($9.85 billion) to fix millions of diesel cars to reduce pollution, according to the Dow Jones report.