German ministers and car executives meet to agree ways to cut inner-city pollution to try to stave off bans on diesel cars and restore the tarnished reputation of the country's auto industry. Kate King reports.
Combustion powered cars delivering German ministers to crisis talks on inner city pollution. The big question - whether to enforce an outright ban on diesel. To those on the outside the answer is clear - although the destination not so much. After the conference was moved from the transport ministry to the interior - leaving protesters peddling their ideas in the wrong place. SOUNDBITE (English) GREENPEACE TRANSPORT EXPERT BENJAMIN STEPHAN, SAYING: "What should happen is that we need special authorisation so the cities and towns are given the opportunity to protect their citizens. We need an effective retrofit, no software make-up. And really, a change in transport policies is necessary." In car making powerhouse Germany, the death of diesel carries significant weight. Around 800-thousand jobs are linked to the industry. Germany's government has come under fire for being to close to carmakers and not cracking down on vehicle pollution Even so, industry sources believe manufactures will be spared from making costly hardware changes to engines and will instead be required to carry out software updates to around 2 million vehicles. (SOUNDBITE) (German) MANAGER OF CAR DEALERSHIP, RICHARD TENDYCK, SAYING: "We are in contact with customers who want to buy a new car every day. The big concern they all have is, should it be petrol or diesel, electric or hybrid. The biggest problem is uncertainty. The summit must make clear what can be done in what timeframe." Pressure to support a switch to a cleaner greener car is ramping up. Both Britain and France have announced plans to eventually ban all diesel and petrol vehicles and Tesla has launched its first mass-market electric car. Already, sales of diesel vehicles in Germany have dropped 12 percent, as buyers worry about potential restrictions.