As sometimes happens, there’s a war brewing in the heart of Europe. This one isn’t like the others, though — instead of nation versus nation, it’s a case of lawmakers versus privately owned vehicles, primarily those of the diesel persuasion.
So eager are some city governments to ban the operation of diesel-powered cars and trucks in or near urban centers, BMW Group has taken the unusual step of issuing a promise. In a bid to allay fears of new (or newish) vehicles becoming useless to their owners, the automaker claims it will let German lessees return their diesel vehicles and switch to a gas-powered model.
Don’t worry about the government, BMW wants its customers to know. Just enjoy that compression ignition engine while you can.
Bimmer’s diesel return promise works like this: If you’re leasing a vehicle when a driving ban goes into effect within a 100 kilometer (62 mile) radius of your home, the automaker will allow you to enter into a “comparable termination agreement” for another BMW Group vehicle. Obvious, a gasoline-powered vehicle would be the go-to, though you’ll really cover your ass by picking up some sort of hybrid.
The promise goes into effect on March 15th.
It amounts to peace of mind for nervous customers and would-be customers, but this isn’t the only “protection” on offer. Owners of BMW Group vehicles conforming to the older Euro 4 emissions standard (or its predecessors) are eligible for incentives on certain new vehicles. These include the electric BMW i3, plug-in hybrid models, or new BMW and Mini vehicles that comply with the Euro 6 standard. The incentive amounts to roughy $2,500.
While this promise also goes into effect on March 15th, it’s shelf life is short. The incentive dries up at the end of June. BMW claims the offer, clearly designed to get stubborn owners into showrooms, was made in the interest of fleet renewal and overall emissions reduction.
Diesel owners have a right to feel worried in Germany. The country’s top court recently ruled that cities and towns are within their legal rights to ban the operation of certain vehicles that pose a public health threat. It’s not just Germany, either — major hubs like London, Paris, Athens, and Madrid have proposed similar types of bans.
Seemingly, no internal combustion car is safe in the birthplace of the internal combustion car.