German carmaker Volkswagen announced heavy cash discounts up to 10,000 euros (Rs 7.49 lakh) for customers purchasing new cars from them by trading in their old diesel vehicles. The announcement comes as Germany struggles to reduce harmful pollutant levels following an emissions scandal.
The announcement was made through a statement from Frankfurt on Tuesday, wherein the company stated that customers trading in their old diesel cars for brand-new cars that meet the latest Euro-VI emission norms will get discounts ranging from 2,000 euros (Rs 1.49 lakh) for its Up! compact car to 10,000 euros for its Touareg SUV.
The manufacturer also proposed to offer an additional discount in the range of 1,000-2,383 euros (Rs 74,900 to Rs 1.79 lakh) to customers purchasing more environmentally friendly hybrid, all-electric, or natural gas-powered vehicles.
At present the offer has is applicable for customers in Germany and will be valid till the end of 2017, and the company said it is considering making it available to customers all across Europe soon. The VW statement said it was "acknowledging its share of responsibility for climate- and health-friendly mobility on German streets".
Volkswagen AG subsidiaries Audi, Skoda and Seat as well as their commercial vehicle arms will also offer similar discounts on old diesels being traded in for new Euro-VI compliant models. Another VW subsidiary and performance brand Porsche also announced rebates of up to 5,000 euros (Rs 3.74 lakh) on its models in all European countries.
The proposed incentives come after a government-industry summit in Germany last week on tackling the high levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted from diesel cars. Following the summit, VW, BMW, Daimler and Opel vowed to reduce emissions with free-of-charge software updates for newer vehicles and cash-for-clunkers schemes for older cars.
Car companies have been in the spotlight over high levels of harmful NOx emissions since Volkswagen admitted to cheating regulatory emissions tests on 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide in 2015.
Rival carmaker Daimler said it would offer a discount of 2,000 euros to buyers swapping their older diesels for a new, lower-emissions Mercedes-Benz by the end of the year. BMW already announced last week that it would offer a trade-in bonus of up to 2,000 euros for buyers purchasing a new, lower-emissions BMW or Mini.
In addition to making up for the emissions scandal, the auto industry is scrambling to catch up to new competitors like US-based Tesla Motors, which is gearing up for production of its first mass-market all-electric car.