Coming out of the south in the mid-70s....I never had much of a introduction to diesel cars. It wasn't until I arrived into Rhein Main in 1978....that I came to note that such cars exist. The VW Golf was one example, and I worked with a guy who came to own one. The chief advantage which he enjoyed bragging about....gas-mileage.
By the mid-80s when I came back to Germany for another tour....I knew another guy who had car that he'd procured....diesel.....ten years old. His chatter was dependability and gas-mileage. In some ways....both guys were addicted to the diesel technology.
By the early 1990s, with another tour back to Germany....I came to note several Americans who'd gotten into the diesel gimmick, and I did a fair amount of reading and research.
Because of the way they are built, they generate less heat than a gas car.....so diesel engines tend to last twice as long as a gas-powered car. Some guys will chatter over their car having crossed the 400,000 kilometer range (roughly 250,000 miles)....with the same engine, and still going strong.
The same guys will talk about the 40 miles per gallon situation and for a long trek each day....they are saving a thousand gallons of fuel per year.
At some point in the 1990s....the realization of pollution or particles came up and the diesel industry had to go and visit the idea of filters or lessening particle issues. Over the past decade, another new standard has risen in Germany/the EU.
But there's this odd problem sitting there. So you have a fair number of guys (it's always guys who buy the diesel if you go and look at ownership), and as long as the car runs....they have no desire in getting a new car. So you could be standing there at the edge of Stuttgart or Frankfurt, and note that probably fifty-percent of the diesel cars you see on the road....are more than 15 years old. I would take a guess that 5-percent of the diesels on the roads of Germany are more than 20 years old. In a way, the fine quality of manufacturing and the craftsmanship of the engines have created this odd problem.
So, the Germans want to fix this problem. To be honest, the push is going on in Baden-Wurttemberg (Stuttgart)....mostly with the Green Party, and to a lesser extent with the SPD Party. Fine particle pollution is talked about daily in Stuttgart. It's described as a major problem.
The first agenda out there? Ban all diesel cars from a particular age group (mostly fitting those over ten years old). So you'd be standing there with a 15-year old diesel VW in great condition, and have a job in the heart of Stuttgart....only to discover that you can't use the car for work anymore. The car has no value. Trying to sell it? Well...the market in this region is now screwed up for older-model diesel cars. It's worthless.
The second agenda? Some type of kit that you'd have put on your older diesel car....to ensure no harmful particular issues. Cost? Between 1,000 and 2,000 Euro. But note....this kit is only in draft form and yet to be fully tested. Would you be willing to spend 2,000 Euro on a 3,000 Euro car? My guess is no.
So, there is anger and hostility brewing in this one German state, and this fear (aggravation to be precise), that when the election finishes up in September....the new coalition (SPD, Greens and Linke Party) will mandate this problem as a national problem and suddenly all diesel owners have a worthless car.
A odd political topic in an election year? Yeah. You have idiot politicians chattering away on this....knowing virtually nothing about diesel engines or the fine particle business, but they have to seem like experts when they are not.
At the end of this spectrum....there could be tons of German diesel cars deemed worthless in a short period of time, and little compensation from the government. Court action? I expect a court deal to be part of this, and force the government into some deal over compensation....maybe a tax credit....to soften the pain to this deal.