A couple of weeks ago, the European Union banned the import of most vehicles made by the Volkswagen Group of Companies (VW).
That means a lot of cars from Audi, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz will have to be scrapped.
The EU is pushing for tougher rules against imported vehicles, and it’s also considering banning imports of vehicles from all of the world top five car makers.
But VW is making it tough for the EU.
A German newspaper reported that VW’s European sales director in Brussels, Alexander Bremer, is telling the EU to change its mind.
And on Thursday, Bremer told a German television station that the EU was “under pressure” from the U.S. and others to scrap the ban.
Bremer said he was told by the EU’s competition office that the car industry needed “more time” to adjust to the ban and to “learn the rules.”
“The U.K. and France have been asking for a bit more time,” Bremer was quoted as saying.
“But the time is going out.
I think it’s going to be a short time.”
The U.B.C. report, which did not specify how many vehicles VW was importing from Europe, said that the European ban on vehicles made before Sept. 1, 2021, was being imposed on a case-by-case basis.
That means VW’s imports are not counted in the European tally, but they are considered to be imported and therefore subject to the EU ban.
But Bremer also said the ban was being enforced against cars from Ford, General Motors and Nissan, which all made vehicles before Sept 1, 2020.
In a statement, Ford said it has “a robust internal processes for reviewing all of our products, including importations of foreign products.”
General Motors said it had “strong internal processes to ensure the integrity of the supply chain and to ensure that our product lines are not subject to manipulation by foreign suppliers.”
Nissan said it “takes the EU decision very seriously.”
The EU’s decision on the ban has not been officially announced.
The Commission said in a statement Thursday that it would publish a formal proposal on the future of the ban by May, which is about a year after the EU banned Volkswagen from the EU in December.
In the meantime, Brecher said VW’s decision was “disappointing.”
“It’s a step backward,” he said.
“The Volkswagen Group has a long and proud history of making great vehicles.
The import ban on foreign-made vehicles is an unfortunate and unjustifiable move that could jeopardize the competitiveness of our brand, which depends on the high quality of its cars.
The Volkswagen Group would be better off if it can change its minds and avoid this disastrous step.”
VW declined to comment.
Brecher also told German broadcaster NDR that the ban could cost the company more than a billion euros ($1.4 billion).
“If the EU goes ahead with this, Volkswagen is going to have to make an extra 2 billion euros,” Brecher told the broadcaster.
Volkswagen says the ban is needed because some of its models are too large for EU rules and because of the country’s stringent emissions standards.
It also argues that many of its new models are also made in the U, where the European rules are more stringent.
“VW is an open economy and it would be wrong for our European partners to force us to take part in this unfair and expensive process,” Breger said.