Eastern Europe’s appetite for dirty old diesels

Secondhand diesel cars are worth way less in Germany due to Dieselgate and potential city bans. But the clunkers sell like hotcakes in Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, says Handelsblatt.com.

German diesel owners are down in the dumps about their vehicles potentially being banned, but there could be a silver lining. It is a market lined with old cars, in a field in Romania, smelling of sausages, exhaust fumes and chicken poop.

It’s where used diesel BMWs, Opels, Mercedes and VWs from Germany are resold, one of many markets throughout eastern Europe where people are hungry for vehicles that work, and not picky about exhaust fumes. The value of diesel-powered autos from Germany has fallen dramatically after Volkswagen was revealed to have systematically been cheating emissions values. That loss has been compounded by the threat of diesel bans in cities, as lawmakers seek to reduce air pollution.

That appetite for old cars is not confined to Romania’s Cluj-Napoca market, lined with rows of battered cars. Takers for those autos can be found in Serbia, Kosovo and Albania; dealers drive from Hungary and Slovakia to buy up rusty old German vehicles. The Russian market has collapsed with the fall of the ruble, one dealer said. The very oldest cars, with the lowest level of certification, are often sold in Georgia.

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