Senior executives from Ford and BMW have spoken on behalf of the German auto industry’s reputation on Thursday, claiming their companies and others were sure to prevent the kind of illegal manipulation seen at German competitor Volkswagen AG.
According to BMW development chief Klaus Froehlich the software Volkswagen used to dupe US emissions regulators was a “no-go” for the world’s largest luxury automaker. Meanwhile Bernhard Mattes, Ford’s local head in Germany warned against falling victim to the general hysteria triggered by the massive scandal. Both executives spoke during a motor industry conference in Berlin, trying to put a distance between them and rivaling VW, which has been the subject of public outcry, probes by public prosecutors , heavy regulatory scrutiny all around the world and could lose billions from massive fines and a vast array of civil law suits. “Should one be cheating or not? A defeat device is a no-go,” commented BMW’s Froehlich. “Everyone knows this is a threshold that one must never cross … At BMW, I can flatly rule that out.”
Both automakers acknowledged the German industry – renowned for its quality – will have a rough period of at least several months. “The strength of ‘Made in Germany’ is not only influenced by the auto industry,” added Ford’s Mattes. “We should not, therefore, fall into hysteria.” The industry conference – with 250 experts and executives signed on – was another moment for the VW managers to stay away: newly-appointed VW brand sales chief Juergen Stackmann and head of future research Wolfgang Mueller-Pietralla as well as four managers from VW’s Spanish subsidiary Seat failed to appear.