German carmakers start soot filter offensive

Munich. German automakers are offering particulate filters on more diesel cars to prevent a collapse of the diesel boom.

Sales of diesel cars without filters have plunged in Germany, following media coverage of health risks associated with tiny particles of soot emitted by diesel-powered vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz has offered 22 diesel models with filters as standard equipment since April 4. But the sticker price of the cars has increased by an average of 800 euros. Retrofit kits for C-class, E-class and Chrysler and Jeep models should be available starting in the summer.

BMW offers filters as standard only on the 5- and 7-series diesel models.

For the new 3 series, a filter costs 580 euros as an optional extra. The 1 series and X3 should become available with filters later this year.

Audi offers filters on its cars with 2.7- and 3.0-liter diesel engines at a cost of 690 euros. Diesels with 2.0-liter engines will be offered with filters soon.

Volkswagen offers filters as standard only on diesel versions of the Phaeton, Touareg and some Passat models.

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