Audi to update 850000 cars as diesel recalls widen

The German maker couldn't confirm how many were sold in the United Kingdom but it's expected to run into thousands.

The retrofit programme applies to six-cylinder and eight-cylinder V6 and V8 diesel engines sold in Europe and other markets outside of the US.

The software update is aimed at reducing emissions in urban areas where nitrogen oxides are a huge problem for diesels.

Daimler said it would tweak engine software to reduce diesel emissions, using what it has learned in developing a new line of diesel engines.

Audi spokesman Udo Rügheimer said the move was to try and restore confidence in diesel and ensure it has a future.

The free voluntary recall aims to tweak the software of affected cars, to improve their emissions in real-world driving conditions.

The firm's announcement came just days after the government in the German state of Baden-Württemberg agreed to abandon plans to restrict diesel engines if older cars could be adjusted to produce fewer pollutants.

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"With their low fuel consumption, diesel engines help to achieve the ambitious Carbon dioxide targets in Europe, which is another reason why Audi has chose to offer this retrofit program".

The recall is on top of the 1.2million vehicles previously recalled by the VW Group during the "defeat device" scandal nearly two years. Cities such as Paris, Madrid and Mexico City are looking into banning the models because of air pollution concerns.

France has also announced it'll stop the sale of diesels AND petrols from 2040 while many manufacturers - including Renault - are ditching small diesel units as they're not cost effective.

Since 2006, there had also been "innumerable meetings" about diesel exhaust processing created to reduce emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Thousands of owners said cars were losing power AFTER having work carried out.

"This new chapter in the diesel saga needs to be taken seriously", Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said in a note.

For nearly two years now, the German auto industry has sought to get out from underneath the cloud of the diesel scandal that erupted first at VW and has cost it billions in fines and has since threatened to engulf other carmakers, tainting the image of German engineering and hurting the industry that's among the country's biggest employers.

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