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German carmakers in a spin ahead of diesel ban ruling

A court will decide whether German cities can ban heavily polluting cars, potentially wiping hundreds of millions of euros off the value of diesel cars on the country’s roads, according to Reuters.

Environmental group DUH has sued Stuttgart in Germany’s car making heartland, and Dusseldorf over levels of particulate matter exceeding European Union limits after Volkswagen’s 2015 admission to cheating diesel exhaust tests.

The scandal led politics across the world to scrutinise diesel emissions, which contain the matter and nitrogen oxide and are known to cause respiratory disease.

There are around 15 million diesel vehicles on German streets and environmental groups say levels of particulates exceed the EU threshold in at least 90 German towns and cities.

Local courts ordered them to bar diesel cars which did not conform to the latest standards on days when pollution is heavy, startling German carmakers because an outright ban could trigger a fall in vehicles resale prices, and a rise in the cost of leasing contracts, which are priced on assumed residual values.

The German states concerned, where the carmakers and their suppliers have a strong influence, appealed against the decisions, leaving Germany’s federal administrative court – the court of last resort for such matters – to rule on whether such bans can legally be imposed at local level.

Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens have said they plan to ban diesel vehicles from city centres by 2025, while the mayor of Copenhagen wants to ban new diesel cars from entering the city a soon as next year. France and Britain will ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 in a shift to electric vehicles.

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