Continental CEO calls on politicians to support diesel cars

Elmar Degenhart, CEO of German tyre company Continental, poses for the media before the annual news conference in Hanover, Germany March 2, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The chief executive of German auto supplier Continental has called for political support for diesel cars in the face of increasing driving bans.

Several German cities are preparing to ban older diesel vehicles that emit higher amounts of pollutants.

But the latest generation of diesel is clean, Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart told journalists. “This is a statement that must come from politicians.”

It is a “tragedy that diesel is dead politically”, he said, noting the latest technology has allowed for cleaner diesel engines.

Degenhart also said Continental would decide whether to produce battery cells independent of any possible government subsidies.

The company will only proceed with production in tandem with partners experienced in electrochemicals and will make a decision after 2020, he said.

Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Tom Sims; Editing by Thomas Seythal