Ford: European car makers need to regain consumers’ trust

13-Oct-2015 @ 1:0

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Transparency, accountability, enforcing the rules and modernising standards: that is the recipe needed now to help re-establish consumer trust in European car manufacturers, set out by the chairman of the European Parliament’s internal market and consumer protection committee, Vicky Ford MEP, today.

Speaking in a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, she said that any market will only function if there is trust between consumers and businesses. She said that people need to know who knew what both within Volkswagen and at official level and she called for a full investigation across all European countries covering all motor manufacturers. She said that the EU’s ‘Type Approval’ system for testing car standards only works if all countries enforce it; and she said that the emissions tests in place need to ensure they reflect real world driving experience not just laboratory tests.

Launching an ‘Oral Question’ to the European Commission in the parliament today, Mrs Ford said:

“The Volkswagen scandal has wide repercussions. For the vast majority of people buying a car is the single biggest purchase they make in their lives after buying a home.

“This scandal is not just about money, but also about health. NOx emissions in an urban area can build to lethal levels – this why we set a standard to reduce them.

“For a market to function properly, there must be trust… that standards are applied uniformly by each of the EU’s 28 member states.

“If a flagship European company cheats a European standard within the Single Market, or a standard in another part at the world there are repercussions for all of our reputation as a trustworthy trading partner across the world.

“Currently Volkswagen customers face chaos … consumers looking to buy a car from another manufacturer are also uncertain. They want to know whether it is just Volkswagen who have used “defeat devices” the rules; which other companies, if any, were involved; and why officials did not do anything about the problem sooner.

“It is not possible to regulate away fraud but proper oversight can minimise it. National regulators are required by law to enforce this legislation. The strength of the EU’s type approval process is only as strong as the weakest link. Turning a blind eye in one member state sends repercussions across all 28.”

“We’ve known for many years that emissions tests and fuel efficiency claims do not represent real world experience. We need to make sure the standards themselves work. The Commission will announce new testing processes before the end of this year – tests that will be in place by the end of next year for new Type approvals. We have to be given time to understand the detail and get it right.

“We must not just talk about better law making, we must deliver it.”

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