COLOGNE, Germany/BERLIN: German carmakers agreed to spend up to 3,000 euros (US$3,430) per vehicle to help reduce diesel emissions as the government and industry respond to driving bans in major cities.
While Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer and car bosses were hammering out a deal on anti-pollution measures in a five-hour meeting on Thursday, a court ruled that two more German cities, Cologne and Bonn, must impose bans on older diesel vehicles.
Volkswagen and Daimler are prepared to offer hardware retrofits to clean up older diesel vehicles at their own cost, Scheuer said following the meeting, adding that rival BMW was still refusing to do so.
All three big German carmakers have committed to spending up to 3,000 euros for various measures, including trade-in incentives.
Scheuer said they were all keen to press ahead with such incentives, which aim to convince customers to buy newer, cleaner vehicles that have lower emissions and would not be affected by driving bans.
A series of scandals involving schemes to conceal the true levels of pollutant emissions from diesel cars has dealt repeated blows to the global reputation of Germany's car industry in recent years.
A German court ruled that Cologne must introduce bans on older diesel vehicles in some parts of the city from next April, prompting state authorities to launch an appeal.
Environmental lobby group DUH had filed complaints against the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, home to Cologne and Bonn, saying the cities needed to ensure their nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels stuck to permitted limits and calling for a ban of diesel vehicles in those cities.
(Writing by Michelle Martin and Maria Sheahan; Editing by Maria Sheahan/Keith Weir)