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Indian official calls German cars 'criminal'

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Indian official calls German cars 'criminal'
Photo: DPA
16:33 CET+01:00
India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh attacked German automakers on Friday, saying driving big-engined luxury models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz in his country was “criminal.”

Expressing his wish for better fuel efficiency in India, Ramesh said people should not be encouraged to buy vehicles such as powerful German luxury cars and gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles.

“The luxurious growth of large-size vehicles like SUVs is really a growth of concern, use of vehicles like SUVs and BMW in countries like India is criminal,” he said at a UN function in New Delhi, according to news agency IANS.

"I think we seriously need to think about fuel policy regime," he added, suggesting that these luxury models were still made because they run on subsidised diesel fuel, making the real beneficiaries the owners of "BMWs, the Benzs and Hondas," IANS reported.

The country should levy extra fees and mandatory fuel efficiency standards on these cars, the minister suggested.

"We cannot ask people to buy or not to buy a particular car. But through an effective fiscal policy, we can certainly have an impact," he said.

A new committee on national transport plans to give recommendations for such a program in just over a year, he added.

India's auto market is among the fastest growing in the world, particularly in the luxury sector, with German carmakers expanding their operations there significantly in recent years.

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