BERLIN, April 5 (Xinhua) -- German luxury carmaker Daimler has announced plans to lower the average CO2 emissions of its fleet with new diesel and electric-powered vehicles on Thursday.
Speaking at Daimler's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Berlin, chief executive officer (CEO) Dieter Zetsche said diesel technology would play "an important role" in lowering greenhouse gas emissions by replacing less climate-friendly petrol-powered vehicles. Although carmakers had to assume responsibility for the ongoing scandal, diesel cars were still part of the solution to combining "individual mobility, climate protection and clean air."
Zetsche's statement comes shortly after an official study revealed that new diesel sales in Germany fell by 21 percent during the first three months of 2018. A recent landmark ruling by the Federal Administrative Court has empowered municipal governments to unilaterally impose driving bans on diesel cars to lower nitrogen oxide (NO2) pollution levels in cities.
Nevertheless, German transport minister Andreas Scheuer and several domestic carmakers, including Daimler, have insisted that blanket bans are not necessary given the availability of modern diesel motor types with lower NO2 emissions levels.
While NO2 poses a direct risk to human pulmonary health when inhaled, German carmakers are also under heavy regulatory pressure to reduce their vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions, above all carbon dioxide (CO2), which contribute to climate change.
Aside from building more diesel cars, Daimler hopes to weather such deep-seated change with a flurry of new electric-powered vehicles.
In order to maintain its current profit margins amidst complex corporate reforms, Daimler told investors that it would unveil several new products, including a re-interpretation of its compact "A Class" Mercedes-Benz model.
Daimler further reiterated to its shareholders that Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electric (CASE) vehicles would feature with growing prominence in the company's global product portfolio with an electric version of every vehicle being available from 2022.
The Daimler CEO warned, however, that a resulting e-mobility offensive also posed a serious commercial challenge to the firm which would have to invest billions into new plants whilst ensuring continuity in the production of existing models. "More electric vehicles are good for our CO2 balance sheet, but they will not be good for our financial balance sheet in the short-term," Zetsche said.