Environment and Climate

Environmental protection in production

The German automotive industry is aware of its responsibility throughout the entire cycle of a car’s production and use: from the selection of materials, via production in Germany and fuel-efficient operation to closing the materials cycle at the end of the life cycle.

End-of-life vehicle recycling

A high-quality, certified take-back and recycling network for end-of-life vehicles has been established in Germany. Take-back free of charge is guaranteed. The statutorily prescribed recycling and recovery quotas are being achieved. A figure of approximately 1.3 to 1.4 million vehicles annually, the whereabouts of which are unknown, is frequently bandied about in public as being the (illegal) export of end-of-life vehicles, and thus a loss of resources. This is a misrepresentation. In fact, a large proportion of these vehicles is recycled in an environmentally friendly way in Germany but not captured in the statistics. The principal reason for the constantly declining number of “official” end-of-life vehicles is the reduced importance in recent years of the certificate of destruction when decommissioning vehicles.

All investigations to date demonstrate that only very few genuine end-of-life vehicles leave Germany. Most vehicles leaving the country are pre-owned vehicles. This free flow of goods is important for a functioning economy and must not be restricted. The term “illegal export of end-of-life vehicles” is often advanced in this context, the terms “end-of-life vehicle” and “pre-owned vehicle” become blurred or are used inaccurately. The already existing proof of destruction is the appropriate distinguishing feature here. If the licensing authorities were systematically to demand this proof of destruction upon vehicles being finally decommissioned, the correct treatment of end-of-life vehicles could be better recorded in the recycling facilities and the gray area between end-of-life and pre-owned vehicles banished.

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