Das Dieselauto – Eine Geschichte von Illusion und Betrug

In May 2020, the German Federal Court found Volkswagen guilty of fraud. Over many years, the car producer had manipulated diesel engines so they would pass emissions tests. Under real-life conditions, however, the NOx emissions of these cars far surpassed the legal limit. And yet these diesel engines are still in use in Germany. In the USA, Volkswagen has had to buy back hundreds of thousands of cars. The article describes the history of the diesel car as one of illusion and deception – particularly with regard to the diesel car’s ecological impact. From the mid-1970s onward, German car producers repeatedly tried to conquer the American market. From the 1990s onward, they succeeded, in Germany, in presenting their new TDI diesel engines as clean and economical. In the USA, Volkswagen’s 2007 “clean diesel” campaign was only moderately successful. The complacency of Germany’s Transport Ministry and the Federal Office for Motor Vehicles can help explain why no effective measures for emissions reduction have been
implemented to this day.

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