So the diesel summit came and went yesterday. It would be best described as a three-ring circus, and a lot of diesel owners were sitting at home last night and trying to figure out how they got screwed, semi-screwed, or just barely screwed.
The political folks were there at the table....finally. For months, the Berlin-crowd had just avoided this topic entirely. No one wanted to act....they just wanted things to unfold on their own.
The car folks were there at the table....mostly in fear of the future and how big a mess that the political folks could manufacture.
So, let's talk about the results.
The car folks suddenly slide the card onto the table that they could take a software patch, and suddenly trigger some improved cleaner air. No one said how long they knew of the patch or it's affect. It might have been known for a year or more. Why wait till now? Unknown. Would it cause less performance or power? No....at least the companies claim this. Less mileage? No....they claim you will get the same mileage.
The folks most happy at the end of this meet...were the Federal Minister of Transport (Dobrindt, CSU) and the Federal Environment Minister (Hendricks, SPD). They got 5-star coverage by the news media....for 'saving the day'.
From all the numbers, you can figure that around five-million diesel cars will be updated with the software. This would....in theory....lessen the nitrogen oxide by 30-percent over the coming year. My guess is that you notice the change until mid-summer of 2018. The 30-percent talk? It's a numbers game, and remember....we only talk of cars...NOT buses, trucks, or farm vehicles. I would suggest that if the numbers aren't reaching 30-percent less....one might want to analyze the other vehicles in use around urban regions.
One odd aspect of this meeting....wasn't what was going on inside....but outside....with protest groups in full-turbo mode. "Welcome to Fort NOx" was a banner shown outside of the meeting area. A lot of protest groups were aiming at dismantling diesel entirely, but they had no real plan beyond destroying diesel. How you paid off the diesel owners was never commented upon by these agenda groups, and you got the impression that they just wanted to take a piece of capitalism and destroy it.
One interesting aspect out of the meeting was the Ford offer on the table....if you had a diesel 4 car of Ford design (the older cars), then they'd offer a bonus of 8,000 Euro if you bought a new Ford. Again, the deal was to conclude at the end of 2017.
The final piece of the solution was an offer of 500-million Euro to cities to improve their air quality. It was a match-deal....half from the Berlin-crowd, and half from the car industry itself.
Well....it might be enough to stop this city-by-city ban on diesel cars in 2018. The anti-diesel crowd (mostly from the anti-capitalists and the environmentalists)? They will continue their agenda and look for another weak point to attack next. I don't think the crisis is officially over, it just moves to just issue that can be dragged out.
I noted from coverage late last night....the folks who were driving the ban in the sixteen cities of Germany....have openly declared that the summit was a failure, and that the ban will STILL be pursued.
As much stupidity as shown by the Berlin-leadership over the past year....one can look at how they handled the termination of the nuke industry (totally screwed up), and how they ended up paying billions in that case for their decision-making. You kinda see the same brilliant lack of leadership and where this led to in the diesel crisis.
From the general public? There are a lot of people who were diesel-enthusiasts all the way to the end of 2016. I'd say at this point....more than seventy-percent have a sour taste in their mouth. They don't trust the car companies, or the govenrnment. The resell value of their car is screwed up, and they will drive the vehicle to the point where it's worth two or three thousand Euro and sell it to some eastern European guy for half that much. They won't return to diesels. I suspect that they are even questioning the electric car agenda and have distrust of this group as well (battery disposal in twenty years will be a diesel-crisis in the making, I suspect).
Germany in some ways....is driving itself from crisis to crisis now.