MUNICH -- BMW and Audi agreed on measures to cut pollution from older diesel cars with the German state of Bavaria.
Both automakers are based in Bavaria and with Germany's national elections only three months away, politicians are raising pressure on the country's powerful car industry to contribute towards improving air quality and win back trust that was pared down by Volkswagen's emissions scandal.
The steps include a pledge from BMW and Audi to ensure that at least half of their Euro-5 standard diesel car fleets will reach a level of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions that will cut pollution in cities, the Munich-based Bavarian state government said.
BMW and Audi agreed to shoulder the costs for certification and development of the necessary engine management software, the Bavarian government said.
Bavaria wants to table proposals in July for limited purchasing incentives, especially through amended car tax, to get drivers to switch from older Euro-3 and Euro-4 models to more fuel-efficient Euro-6 technology, it said.
Sales of diesel cars have been falling since the VW scandal but have dropped even faster since cities, including Stuttgart and Munich, have considered banning older diesel vehicles, blaming emissions for a rise in respiratory disease.
"We believe there are more intelligent options than driving bans," BMW CEO Harald Krueger said in an emailed statement. "That's why we support the initiative of the Bavarian government for a comprehensive and lasting improvement of air quality in our cities."
Germany's ADAC car club, Europe's largest and most influential, said on Wednesday that buyers should push back planned purchases of diesel cars until Euro-6D technology becomes available in new models this autumn