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Audi joins Mercedez-Benz in diesel car recall as emissions scrutiny grows

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-07-2017 Elisabeth Behrmann

Munich: Volkswagen AG’s premium brand Audi is starting a voluntary recall of diesel cars, following a similar move by rival Mercedes-Benz as regulatory scrutiny of the engines’ hazardous pollution intensifies.

Audi will recall as many as 850,000 vehicles to update the software in Euro 5 and Euro 6 engines to reduce emissions and preempt cities’ proposed driving bans, the Ingolstadt, Germany-based automaker said Friday in a statement. The action will be free of charge and also covers models of the Porsche and VW brands that feature Audi-made engines.

“Audi aims to maintain the future viability of diesel engines for its customers and to make a contribution towards improving air quality,” said the statement. “At the same time, Audi is convinced that this programme will counteract possible bans.”

Diesel technology has been under assault since Volkswagen was found cheating on emissions tests nearly two years ago. Since then, authorities around the world have stepped up their scrutiny of the autos, which burn less fuel than gasoline equivalents but emit smog-inducing nitrogen oxides. Cities from Munich to Mexico City have all made efforts to ban diesel cars from their roads.

That’s put carmakers in Europe, where diesel accounts for roughly half of annual auto sales and tens of thousands of jobs, in a bind. They need the fuel to have a chance at meeting increasingly tightening environmental targets.

Mercedes owner Daimler AG, which is being probed in Germany for possible emissions cheating, this week announced a massive recall of almost all the diesel cars it sold in Europe in recent years. Audi, whose engines are also being tested by the government for possible violations, said it’s cooperating with authorities and would make any additional required fixes. Bloomberg

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