German carmakers agreed on Wednesday to update the software in 5.3 million diesel-powered cars to reduce emissions, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt told reporters. Mia Womerlsey reports.
Germany's carmakers have agreed to update software in over 5 million diesel-powered cars. That in a bid to reduce inner city pollution but avoid a complete ban on the vehicles. The decision was made as ministers and manufacturers held crisis talks in Berlin on Wednesday (August 2). The government says these updates will cut the nitrogen oxide emissions of the affected cars by 30 percent by the end of 2018. But environmental groups say this solution is inadequate - labeling it a "grandiose failure." The country's automotive industry has been seriously tarnished since Volkwagen admitted cheating emissions tests in 2015. The government then came under fire for not doing enough to crack down on vehicle pollution and for being too close to powerful carmakers. It's now desperate to show it is taking action but is still determined to avoid a complete ban. That would only anger the drivers of 15 million diesel vehicles and damage an industry that is the country's biggest exporter and provides about 800,000 jobs. July saw Germany's diesel car sales fall 12.7 percent in July as buyers worry about potential driving restrictions.