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Merkel backpedals; "we need to restore trust in diesel"

by Ronan Glon

Germany\'s chancellor has seemingly changed her mind about the diesel engine.

German chancellor Angela Merkel made headlines last week when she said calls to ban the internal combustion engine were "the right approach." In an abrupt 180, she told a German newspaper that her mission is now to "restore trust in diesel."

Speaking to Bild, Merkel made it clear Germany's biggest automakers had "angered" her by breaking the law and exploiting legal loopholes to build cars that don't comply with emissions regulations. However, she's also concerned about the roughly 800,000 industrial sector jobs that would be lost if diesel technology were to disappear overnight.

"In order to prevent or reverse the drop in value of diesel cars, we need to restore trust in diesel," she told . She added that she firmly opposes the plans laid out by a handful of German cities to impose an all-out ban on diesel-powered cars in the coming years. She will hold a summit on September 4th with officials from city governments who have signaled their intention to implement a ban in order to find another solution.

Several automakers have spoken out in favor of diesel -- and against bans -- over the past few months. Jaguar - Land Rover boss Ralph Speth said "diesel needs to have a future," while Bosch board member Rolf Bulander "politicians should not restrict our engineers." A top Mazda official went as far as claiming the death of the internal combustion engine is "overrated."

Officials from Germany's biggest car companies haven't responded to Chancellor Merkel's latest comments, and neither have her political opponents. Merkel hopes she will get reelected when Germans head to the polls on September 24th.

Photo by Ronan Glon.

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