BERLIN -- Daimler is offering some Mercedes-Benz customers in Germany a 3,000 euro ($3,350) subsidy to upgrade the exhaust filters of older, polluting diesel vehicles, the latest effort among German automakers to avoid inner-city bans.
Automakers have been forced to consider upgrading exhaust treatment systems on older cars after German cities started banning heavily polluting diesel vehicles to cut fine particulate matter and toxic nitrogen oxides.
The decisions were made after a landmark ruling by Germany's top administrative court last year that opened the door to inner-city bans.
Daimler launched a website this week to process applications for financial support, as the KBA Motor Transport Authority seeks to approve an after-market kit to upgrade the exhaust systems on various Mercedes diesel passenger vehicles.
The company has offered the subsidy to customers in German regions that face potential driving bans, the automaker said.
The first retrofit kit for Mercedes cars with Euro 5 diesel engines, including the best-selling E 220 and E 250 models, has been developed by Dr Pley SCR Technology, a family-owned business based in southern German state of Bavaria.
It will cost about 3,000 euros to buy and install.
German automakers initially offered software updates and shied away from endorsing hardware retrofits, instead lobbying for customers to buy new cars with cleaner engines.
But consumer groups pressured automakers to endorse retrofits as a more cost-effective measure.
"We have known right from the start that retrofits are feasible and have now proved this to the carmakers," said Thomas Steinbrueckner, head of development at Dr Pley SCR Technology.