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Austria follows German drive to make diesel cars cleaner

Owners of diesel cars in Austria will get free emissions-reducing software updates and will be offered incentives to buy cleaner cars. This is the result of a meeting between government officials and carmakers.

International automakers and the Austrian Transport Ministry agreed Tuesday that the owners of 600,000 diesel cars in the country would be entitled to free software upgrades with a view to reducing nitrogen oxide emissions.

They said the deal would include 350,000 recalled Volkswagen vehicles that had used illegal emissions-cheating devices.

Austrian car owners would get incentives such as vouchers to get as many upgrades as feasible, Austrian Transport Minister Jörg Leichtfried told reporters.

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Improved results

In addition, car importers agreed to offer a premium to drivers, who would be willing to trade in their diesel cars for models that emitted less exhaust gases.

While a recent diesel summit in Germany led to a similar agreement that covered German carmakers Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW as well as French-owned Opel, the Austrian deal also involves other French, Korean and Japanese manufacturers.

"We have improved the meager results that were achieved in Germany and negotiated a better deal for Austria," Leichtfried said.

He acknowledged, though, that neither he nor German politicians had managed to convince automakers to install emissions-reducing hardware in older models.

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hg/jd (dpa, Reuters)

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