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German carmakers reach emissions-cutting deal

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German carmakers have agreed with top politicians to cut harmful emissions by updating software in five million diesel vehicles.

New engine management software will improve emission filtering systems and cut toxic nitrogen oxide levels by 25-30%, the industry association VDA said.

The industry is under pressure since a diesel emissions scandal exposed cheating to manipulate test readings.

Talks continued after the deal was announced, a source told Reuters.

The deal was struck at a summit in Berlin.

It was approved by Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen and Opel, VDA said in a statement (in German).

Car firms are a crucial part of the German economy, providing more than 800,000 jobs.

Shortly after the deal was announced, a source close to the negotiations told Reuters that talks between several cabinet ministers, regional premiers and car bosses were still going on at group level.

Pressure to cut emissions increased last week, when a court in Stuttgart upheld a proposal to ban older diesel cars from the city.

It is the home city of Mercedes and Porsche, and one of Germany’s pollution hotspots.

The BBC’s Jenny Hill in Berlin says air pollution now regularly exceeds legal limits in many German cities. It is a headache for the mighty automotive industry and for German politicians, ahead of a 24 September general election.

But Germany is unlikely to commit to ending production of combustion-engine vehicles any time soon, our correspondent says.

France and the UK plan to ban sales of fossil-fuel vehicles from 2040.

But switching to a future of electric vehicles will be hugely expensive – not least because of the need for charging points everywhere.


Source: BBC News