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The Great Misconception: Consumers Think of German Cars As Sustainable, Yet They Are Among the Biggest Polluters

Germans believe that BMW and Mercedes-Benz rank alongside Toyota in building the most environmentally friendly vehicles. As a new „Handelskontor“ infographic shows, the opposite is in fact the case. New Mercedes-Benz cars have average CO2 emissions of 140.9 g/km, landing them in the inglorious number one spot. Toyota comes in at the other end of the scale with an average of 97.5 g/km, according to data from the industry portal „JATO“. 

Besides Mercedes, CO2 emissions from Audis and BMWs are also above average. The situation at Volkswagen is somewhat better. Nevertheless, Toyota is well ahead in terms of sustainability. Vehicles from French brands Citroen, Peugeot and Renault also emit significantly less CO2 than those from German premium manufacturers. However, just 6% of Germans think of Renault as a particularly environmentally friendly car manufacturer.

Sustainability in the Automotive Industry

Meanwhile, the infographic reveals that the issue of sustainability is increasingly in carmakers‘ minds. Sustainability was a major topic of discussion at a total of 320 investor conferences in 2019. This compares to just 142 in 2015, an increase of 125%. Ecology is also playing an increasingly important role across all sectors, which is in turn reflected in volume of sustainable stocks that investors are opting to invest in.

The most recent developments demonstrate that manufacturers are also putting their money where their mouth is: the emissions figures for the 1.2 million new cars sold in the first half of 2020 were 4.4% lower than the figures for those sold in the same period of the previous year. Almost all brands showed improvements, including the traditional German manufacturers. BMW reduced its CO2 emissions by 9%, Mercedes by 6.6%, while for Audi and Volkswagen the reduction was 5.6% and 4.8% respectively, as reported by „Flotte“.

One of the reasons that CO2 emissions from the German premium manufacturers are so high is that they sell far fewer small cars than many of their competitors. In addition, at this point it should be explicitly emphasised that Daimler & Co. have lately taken up the cause of sustainability, striving to cut their cars‘ ecological footprint.

Bild von Gerd Altmann auf Pixabay

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