Erste AM excludes German car manufacturers from its sustainable investment universe

  • BMW and Daimler excluded from the investable sustainability universe due to suspicion of a cartel agreement
  • The also involved companies Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche had already been excluded as a result of the diesel emissions scandal
  • Erste AM criticises a lack of willingness to find solutions on the part of the German car manufacturers and politicians

Erste AM has excluded BMW and Daimler from its investable sustainability universe until further notice. Due to the suspicion of a cartel agreement, both car manufacturers are therefore no longer investable for the ERSTE RESPONSIBLE line of funds. The also involved companies Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche had already been excluded as a result of the diesel emissions scandal.

The car industry shuns its social and ecological responsibility

The secret agreements among German car manufacturers, which had started in the 1990s according to media reports, represent ground zero of the diesel emissions scandal. It appears that apart from the components of the exhaust gas purification, also software solutions for the dosage of the purification degree have been discussed. “As pioneer and market leader, the German automotive sector bears a huge responsibility. But instead of free competition for the development of the cleanest and most efficient car, it seems backroom deals were made, geared towards stifling this very competition,” says Walter Hatak, Research Analyst and member of the sustainability team of Erste AM. Using such a software does not only constitute a violation of the law, but it also means that the air was being deliberately polluted because of the increased emission of poisonous nitrogen oxides, and as a result, the health of many people was put at risk.

Solutions so far insufficient

The free-of-charge software update that was agreed on at the diesel summit in Berlin at the end of August is no sufficient solution. While the update might possibly improve injection efficiency, it remains to be seen whether this solution will suffice without additional technical measures or an increase of the frequency of “AdBlue”1 top-ups will be required in order to comply with pollution limits. Appropriate consequences of the disclosed cartel and the diesel emissions scandal have to come not only from the German car manufacturers, but also from politicians: “Angela Merkel’s absence from the diesel summit in Berlin illustrates the lack of willingness to come up with solutions among politicians. The loose supervision by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has to be improved as well,” as Hatak concludes.

1 “AdBlue” is a name protected by the German Association of the Automotive Industry that denotes a urea compound that is injected into the emission flow of diesel engines in order to convert nitrogen oxides and ammonia into steam and nitrogen

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