Berlin- As a US court has sentenced an engineer from German automaker Volkswagen Group to 40 months in prison and fined him $200,000 for being involved in the scandal of manipulating the results of the exhausts of diesel-powered cars tests in the United States, German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries expressed her firm opposition to stop the production of diesel engines in the light of the crisis.
“It’s possible to upgrade these cars by manufacturing “clean types” of engines, because diesel is a good engine, and its reputation has worsened somewhat, which is not generally true,” she said on Saturday on the sidelines of the open day of federal journalism.
Responding to a question on whether she sees a possible coalition with the Green party, following their demand to ban fossil fuel engines by 2030 so they accept partaking in a coalition, the minister said that all the parties have the chance to make part of a coalition, including the green party, because negotiations consist of giving up positions taken during the electoral campaign.”
Zypries saw that diesel engines emit small amounts of carbon dioxide, beside that the nitrogen oxides have been largely neutralized by adding urea in the latest stages of development. She added that this was the reason for her call on the automotive sector and the political parties to adopt a unified position saying: “Do not combat diesel, rather, promote its position and maintain its development.”
The minister considered that car manufactures that were involved in faking the results of exhaust tests have harmed the German economy’s credibility. She added that all the products featuring the “made in Germany” logo have lost some of their position”.
The socialist politician also saw that the best way for automakers to fix this problem is to produce clean and suitable engines, noting that this applies not only to electric motors, but also to alternative engines in general, such as industrial fuel engines, gas and hydrogen.
This comes after the US court sentenced the engineer from Volkswagen, for allegedly being involved in manipulating the results of the company’s exhaust tests in the United States.
Engineer James Liang admitted in October to conspiring and manipulating the results of the exhaust test. Liang, 63, cooperated with US Justice Department officials in their investigation about the German automaker, after the company admitted in 2015 that it had installed a program in its diesel-powered cars to rig the exhaust test results.
Liang’s cooperation seems to have been in his favor, as he could have been sentenced to up to seven years in jail and fined up to $ 400,000. But the punishment was more than sought by prosecutors who demanded a three-year prison term and a fine of $20,000.
Liang, an expert in diesel cars, said he had been working for Volkswagen since 1982, and that he was the company’s first employee to be judged in connection with the company’s diesel exhaust scam.
The manipulation scandal, which cost Volkswagen about $24 billion, involves tampering with nitrogen oxides in hundreds of thousands of diesel cars to match US standards.
Volkswagen has reached settlements of many cases raised by owners of cars that have the program that enabled the manipulation process. With these cases largely closed, the US authorities are seeking to sue individuals for their responsibility.