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Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have each agreed to spend up to $3,430 to update each of the older diesel cars they sold in Germany with new emissions systems that comply with regulations, Reuters reported Thursday.
The German agreement mirrors one in the U.S. in which Volkswagen paid owners between $5,000 and $10,000 in addition to the cost of repairing or buying back their cars. (The company is still in the process of returning the repaired older diesels back to the market in the U.S.)
A similar U.S. claim against Mercedes has been filed, dismissed, and refiled, but has not yet been adjudicated.
Like the American Volkswagen settlement, the awards are designed to compensate diesel owners for added depreciation of their cars and give them money toward a down payment on a cleaner replacement car.
In Europe, the emissions issue has taken on more urgency because some cities have banned driving older diesel cars in city limits. Those include Frankfurt, Cologne, and Bonn, the latter two of which were required to institute such bans by next April according to a court order that came on Thursday.
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"Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW will make sure their customers can remain mobile,” German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer told reporters at a conference in Germany on Thursday.
Scheuer has been pushing German automakers to spend more to retrofit older diesels to keep them on the road. Mercedes-Benz and VW will pay for the cost of retrofitting the cars, although BMW has still refused to do so, Scheuer said.
Last month, German prosecutors fined Volkswagen's luxury brand Audi $927 million after finding documents and emails exchanged between the automaker, its Mercedes-Benz rivals, and Germany auto parts supplier Bosch that the prosecutors allege showed collusion among the automakers to cheat emissions regulations.