The charges against the auto industry are serious indeed.
During the next few months, the relevant authorities will need to examine the cartel allegations.
Corporate managers will need to spend much of their time on this issue, too. In
the short term, however, the really important issue for both carmakers and car
owners is the future of the diesel engine. The results of the recent “diesel
summit” at Berlin have brought some clarity on this issue.
In principle, politicians have a number of instruments at their disposal to deal
with the fact that many diesel cars’ emissions exceed the legal limits. The
decision by the Stuttgart administrative court shows that (regional) bans of
diesel cars are ultimately an option. Bans are obviously a serious measure,
which will hit drivers in particular.
Of course, carmakers are keen as well to
prevent driving bans or a patchwork of regionally different rules, which might
scare customers away and weigh on the residual values of diesel cars.