• Defective particle filters but few options for car owners

    A dispute in Germany that began with the discovery that a number of particle filters fitted to cars do not work has intensified with a new discovery that many owners of affected cars cannot get replacements without going to court.

    The failure of the particle filters to do what they are intended to do was discovered nearly a year ago, and Germany’s office for motorised transport ordered the owners of the 40 000 affected cars to get a replacement filter that did work.

    But now a court has said car owners cannot claim a free replacement unless they submit a technical statement proving the ineffectiveness of the filters, a statement that costs around €1500.

    T&E’s German member, the NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe says a small number of the 40 000 defective filters have been replaced free of charge by car dealers. ‘The government has rather relied on this happening,’ a DUH spokesperson said, ‘even naming the situation “the fair dealing regulation”, but this has only worked in very few cases.’

    Meanwhile Germany’s transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee has further intensified the dispute by refusing to withdraw the production permits granted to three companies that have made defective filters.