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Greenpeace e.V., Große Elbstraße 39, 22767 Hamburg
Volkswagen AG Vorstand Herrn Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Martin Winterkorn Berliner Ring 2 38440 Wolfsburg
Model policy and climate protection (English translation from the German letter) Dear Prof. Dr. Winterkorn, Thank you for your letter of 4 October in response to our letter from this past May. In view of the generous amount of time you devoted to formulating your response we were hoping for new and constructive answers. Sadly, our hopes were disappointed. We are well aware -‐ as you stressed in your letter -‐ that Volkswagen has verbally committed to the goals of sustainability and climate protection. For us, however, there appears to exist a disparity between the goals you set yourself and the concrete implementation of those goals. Our criticism is not directed at the improvements achieved in individual vehicle models but rather, the climatic balance of your new car fleet as a whole. Due to its size Volkswagen has a predominant responsibility for its product line-‐up. However, VW will not meet this responsibility by offering isolated "torch bearers" of efficiency and by announcing especially efficient individual concept studies. As do certainly millions of your customers worldwide, we look to Volkswagen as the company that will combine its existing undisputedly great technical know-‐how with its market power in a big way to put more cars on the road capable of meeting future viability standards. Unfortunately, VW is long way off from that goal. Before we go into the details of some of the points you address, please allow us to once again make our concerns clear. First, it is not about individual models, engine options and efficiency analysis. What concerns us is the total environmental balance sheet of the Volkswagen Group and in particular the climatic balance sheet of its European new vehicle
fleet. The background to all this is the dramatic development of climate change. It is about the role that a great automobile company like VW is destined to play. This is all the more true because VW is a company that has set itself the ambitious goal of being "number one" not only with regard to production numbers but also in sustainability. Almost twenty per cent of global emissions are attributable to the use of fossil fuels in transportation. With its 2.9 million vehicles your firm is Europe's biggest automobile manufacturer. The 7.2 million new cars that VW produces annually worldwide generate on the order of 15 million tons of CO2 emissions every year. It is therefore completely within your area of immediate responsibility to prevent further dangerous climate change by building effective climate protection into your products. These figures do not even take into consideration what role the vehicles produced by you play over their useful lives. Assuming an average useful life of 10 years, the cars produced by Volkswagen every year will generate over 60 million tons of CO2 in Europe alone over that time span and over 150 million tons worldwide. Not only do the emissions of the VW fleet on European roads exceed the greenhouse gas emissions of your production facilities by many multiples but your greenhouse gas “budget” matches that of whole countries like Sweden (64 million tons of CO2) or Portugal (78 million tons of CO2). You have stated that it is your goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from your production facilities but you have avoided any mention of your goals for your new vehicle fleet. So we would like to know whether you will achieve your CO2 standards set for 2015 ahead of time as other manufacturers have undertaken to do. But above all: we expect a statement from VW concerning what emissions goal you have set yourself for 2020. As you know, we believe that an average of 80 grams of CO2 per kilometer is a necessary and achievable European standard. The specific figure for VW’s contribution to meeting that standard would possibly be slightly above that. We again urgently ask you to commit to this goal on climate protection grounds and do all that you can to achieve it. In addition, we must take both VW and you personally to task for fighting against more stringent European auto standards at the political level in Berlin and Brussels where VW’s effort has been very much like the normal lobbying of the auto industry. In your response letter you said not a word about raising European CO2 standards to the 80 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2020 as advocated by Greenpeace and other organizations -‐ a central theme of your model policy. Nor do we understand your evasive response to a proposed increase in the EU's goal of reducing greenhouse gases from 20 to 30% by 2020 (compared to 1990). Such an increase is being advocated not just by climatologists but also by business initiatives like the "2 degree initiative" or politicians like the German and British environmental ministers. Just by implementing their efficiency goals the EU would already achieve 25% of its domestic CO2 reduction. In other words an overall goal of 30% (including non-‐domestic reductions) is anything but ambitious. What, specifically, in VW’s view, argues against that? What concrete risks do you fear for your firm? To this day we have not received a public and concrete response to this question from you or your colleagues on the managing board. We would like to delve deeper into the points you address: The gasoline powered Golf 1.4 liter: As you know one of our points of criticism is that -‐ precisely due to its large market share -‐ the Golf is the model, by volume, that emits the largest amount of CO2. The figures available to us from the German Federal Motor Vehicle Office (Kraftfahrtbundesamt) paint a very different picture than the one you portrayed. According to these numbers, it is especially this Golf,
the only gasoline-‐powered model that still offers no TSI-‐equipped motor, that has the greatest sales in this country. Granted, its exact market share might well be open to dispute. It is in any event, however, unacceptable that you extensively market as an entry-‐level car a model that your own experts regard as obsolete. The "up!": We have already discussed the important points of criticism of the new “up!” elsewhere and we know the media will view them similarly: The "up!" burns too much fuel and as far as its efficiency standard is concerned it is not "up to date". Given today's state of the art, a subcompact that weighs around 900 kilograms with a consumption rate of just under 5 liters per 100 kilometer (47 US mpg) (in the NEFZ test series) and emissions considerably more than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometer is out of date. In your letter you refer only to the natural gas version of the "up!" as proof of its ecological qualities. That is misleading. You yourself have already proven that you can produce not only demonstration vehicles but also mass-‐produced cars that consume considerably less fuel. Even considering the considerable differences in underlying technical and economic conditions, you were already able some years ago to mass produce a small car that even back then had considerably lower fuel consumption and emissions. Especially for a car that is intended to quickly conquer the mass market with unit sales in the millions it would be a minimum requirement that only the highest existing efficiency standard would be applied. It is completely incomprehensible to us that even with the "up!" climate protection is offered only as expensive optional equipment. BlueMotion technologies: As for the BlueMotion and BlueMotion technologies models, it appears that their market share is to increase – but at a very slow rate. In view of the comparatively small additional cost of building in this BlueMotion technology as standard equipment it raises the question why it could not at least be made standard equipment in all models? No customer ought to have to choose between buying a state of the art car or one that is technically obsolete. Dear Prof. Dr. Winterkorn, We are well aware of the efficiency improvements achieved by Volkswagen in its new vehicle fleet or the increase in market share enjoyed by some of your “efficiency models” but you know that the automobile industry is on the verge of radical change. This is true not just for issues like future drive trains and the auto industry's share of the future value creation chain of auto manufacturing, it is even more true for issues of model policy and efficiency. Climate policy as well as economic and social challenges are leading to rapid change in the role of the automobile in future mobility scenarios. Remaining wedded to an outdated model policy and, measured against your technical and economic capabilities, inadequate implementation of efficiency are not just injurious to climate protection. Together, they might well -‐ at least over the longer term -‐ endanger jobs in your company. The immediate situation should not be allowed to disguise that fact. We agree with your position that only marketable vehicles have any chance of success. But, in our estimation the real issue is the important challenge of determining which concepts and vehicles will be marketable in the future. The "up!" -‐ at least as presently conceived -‐ offers no answer. We would be pleased to accept your offer to continue this dialogue. A serious offer to “accompany and assist on [VW’s] path to greater fuel economy and lower emissions" as you write makes sense, of course, only if Volkswagen and Greenpeace debate concrete target values and clear framework conditions and not just generally accepted sustainability theories.
We would be delighted if you could name a date for us -‐ together with our international colleagues -‐ to get together sometime before the year is out to exchange views with you and your team on goals for Volkswagen. Finally, in the interest of good form we would like to close with the observation that we reserve the right to make all or portions of this letter accessible to the public. Sincerely,
Climate and transportation campaigner
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