German environment minister, Sigmar Gabriel has attacked the German automotive industry’s attitude towards climate change.

Gabriel told Wirtschaftswoche that German vehicle manufacturers’ technology has lagged climate change demands. He does not understand why the industry has let this competitive opportunity go by the wayside, as it did with catalysts and particulate filters in the past.

In a radio interview, Thomas Becker, who is currently standing in as director of the Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA), the trade association for the German automotive industry, rebuffed suggestions that German manufacturers have only recently started considering climate change. He said that no-one in Europe or Asia gets as much performance out of a litre of fuel as the German manufacturers do.

Becker is temporary spokesman for the VDA following the resignation of its president, Bernd Gottschalk, apparently following criticism from members for not standing up and defending them soon enough in the recent CO2 debate.

Becker said that is it important that improvements in CO2 are achieved in all vehicle segments, and that his members are very good at that.