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Mercedes-Benz calls for level-playing field for diesel cars

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New Delhi :Hit hard by a ban on diesel cars with 2,000 cc and above engines, luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz today said singling out vehicles beyond this limit does not “make a whole lot of difference” on the pollution front and there must be a level-playing field for all.

The current interim ban in the national capital region will continue till March 31, while the Supreme Court will soon decide on whether to extend it or not.

“Even if the diesel (cars) ban is continued at least we should find some consistency in what we do in terms of taxation and policy,” Mercedes-Benz Managing Director & CEO Roland Folger told PTI.

Mercedes-Benz and Tata Motors-owned JLR are the worst hit due to the order as their entire diesel model range is powered by engines above 2,000 cc.

Folger said ban on diesel cars above 2,000 cc does not serve the purpose of containing emissions as the number of such vehicles is very low in comparison with models with smaller diesel engines including the ones with 1,500 cc capacity.

“From our perspective, if diesel ban should continue, than it may make better sense to bring it to the same level (include 1,500 diesel vehicles as well). It will make a whole lot of difference. It will than provoke everybody to go to petrol models,” Folger said.

In December last year, the Supreme Court banned registration of diesel-run SUVs and cars having engine capacity beyond 2000 cc in Delhi and NCR till March 31, as it unveiled a slew of measures to curb the alarming rise in pollution levels in the city.

“Hopefully it (ban) will stop on March 31 but if doesn’t stop than at least we should hope for a level-playing field,” Folger said.

He added that the company could bring in more petrol vehicles if needed but it should not be encouraged as petrol cars emit more carbon dioxide.

“We are ready to bring in more models but it is not preferred choice as the petrol engines emit more carbon dioxide, that won’t help in improving the emission scenario,” Folger said.

Folger said despite more taxes proposed in the Budget on luxury cars, India still remains a very attractive market for the German carmaker.

“It is still very very attractive market. See fundamentally nothing has changed. Talking about the Budget sometimes it is more positive and sometimes it is not but our opinion on this year’s budget is positive,” he added.

PTI

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