Short lead time for emissions laws criticised

By Sandy Guthrie19 April 2013

VDMA logo

VDMA logo

The short intervals allowed for new emissions regulations to come into effect, and that may require retrofitting within the EU, have been criticised by the president of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA).

Speaking at the Bauma show in Munich, Dr Thomas Lindner said that there was a significant competitive disadvantage for the European construction equipment industry as a result of EU emissions Stage IIIB.

He said that the intervals in which the new, significantly stricter emission regulations came into effect – and might require retrofitting within the EU – put at risk the position that German companies currently hold on the world market.

He pointed out that outside Europe and the USA the same regulations did not apply and the relevant low-sulphur diesel fuel, required for running low emissions diesel engines, was not available. Therefore, all companies have to build two different versions of the very same machine.

“This means that there has to be one machine to be sold in Europe and the US, and another one to be offered on the remaining markets,” he said.

He added that there was no doubt that protection of the environment was important and the construction industry was a leader in this.

“However, new environmental requirements concerning construction equipment need to have the desired effects, whereas excessive regulations might push an entire industry into an increasingly marginal role.”

He felt politicians were currently tempted to push popular measures, such as demanding retrofit filters, “which mean enormous cost without generating a measurable reduction of environmental impact”.

On the industry generally, he said, “While three years ago, our industry – with the exception of the manufacturers of mining machinery – suffered immensely from the effects of the worldwide economic and financial crises, today’s situation has improved significantly – except for those countries that are currently most affected by the Euro crisis.

“Since the beginning of 2010, the international market for construction equipment and building material machinery has picked up again and recovered. We are expecting to see a slight growth in the second part of 2013, making up for the current dent, so that also for this year German manufacturers will come close to last years’ total turnover equalling €12.5 billion.”

He said the export quota for German construction equipment and building material machinery industry was 73%, with 39% of all exports with other countries within the EU.

“Markets in Greece, Portugal and Spain, but increasingly also in Italy and France, have been sliding rather significantly,” he said.

Additionally, he felt the weak Chinese market was of concern. He said that in 2012 German sales in that field fell by 25%.

“Especially with regard to standard machinery, the Chinese picked up immensely over the past couple of years. Meanwhile, for many a VDMA member company, they have become real competitors, even on the world market. But up to now, the Germans used to be at least one step ahead of them. We are confident to be able to keep this technological edge also for the foreseeable future,” Dr Lindner said.

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