FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen ( VOWG_p.DE ) will buy back new diesel cars if German cities ban them, he said on Thursday, to reassure potential buyers and stem a slump in diesel sales vehicles.
Europe's largest automaker also said there would be incentives for buyers of new diesel cars.
The moves come after a German court ruled last month that cities in the country could ban the most polluting diesel vehicles from their streets.
Many German cities exceed the limits set by the European Union for atmospheric nitric oxide, which is known to cause respiratory disease.
Fears about bans have led to a decline in demand for diesel vehicles, which is also crucial for car manufacturers' attempts to comply with the new EU rules on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. While diesel cars are strongly criticized for emitting nitric oxide, they spit less CO2 than gasoline equivalents.
Sales of diesel vehicles in Germany fell by 19 percent last month.
At the core of the VW brand, Volkswagen said its buyback offer applies to new diesel locomotives purchased between April 1 and the end of 2018, when the city where the buyer lived or worked within three years after the purchase was banned.
It was said that dealers would repurchase diesel vehicles affected by bans at their present value if their owners were buying a new vehicle that was not affected by city driving restrictions.
The Czech brand Skoda is warranted for cars purchased between 1st April and the end of June. However, it applies to prohibitions introduced within four years of the date of purchase.
The premium brand Audi only includes leasing vehicles.
Volkswagen also said that by the end of June, there will be incentives for customers trading with older diesels against new ones.
The German automaker BMW ( BMWG.DE ) said earlier this month that it would offer to take back leased vehicles if diesel vehicles were removed within 100 kilometers (100 miles) of the operator's place of residence or work.
There was a worldwide backlash against cars with diesel engines, as Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheat emissions testing in the US.
However, the federal government is trying to avoid blanket bans on heavily polluting diesel vehicles, which could lower the resale value of up to 15 million vehicles in Europe's largest automobile market, according to companies.
In Germany, where motorists want to drive strong cars on motorways without speed limits, restrictions are unpopular. But air quality is also a big concern, and green and consumer groups are pushing for action.
Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Arrangement by Jane Merriman and Mark Potter