Munich mayor says diesel deal might not avert car ban

BERLIN, Aug 3 (Reuters) - The mayor of Munich, home to carmaker BMW, expressed doubts on Thursday about whether a deal between German politicians and auto makers to cut pollution was enough to avert possible bans of diesel vehicles.

On Wednesday, politicians and top carmakers agreed at a crisis summit to overhaul engine software on 5.3 million diesel cars to try to repair the industry’s battered reputation and avert potential bans in several cities.

“I fear that the promised software updates for newer cars and financial support for the owners of old cars will not be enough to protect the health of people in the cities,” Munich mayor Dieter Reiter said of the deal.

In June, Reiter said Munich would consider banning some diesel vehicles amid “shocking” nitrogen oxide emissions in the Bavarian capital, a move which helped fuel concern about the future of diesel engines in Germany.

Fritz Kuhn, the mayor of the city of Stuttgart which is also considering a ban, said he was disappointed about Wednesday’s deal: “That can only be a first step, more must still come.”

Environmentalists said the plan - almost two years after Volkswagen admitted to cheating U.S. diesel emissions tests - was too little, too late. They vowed to press ahead with legal action to push for bans.

However, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said he was hopeful that driving bans could be avoided, noting that carmakers had agreed to fund incentives to persuade consumers to trade in older diesel cars, in addition to software updates.

Evercore analysts said the deal had bought carmakers more time and cities would want to test whether it really reduced pollution before proceeding with unpopular bans.

“It will certainly take years to receive reliable data in order to make that call,” they said.

Reiter said Munich would examine the effectiveness of the measures agreed on Wednesday with its own air pollution tests. (Reporting by Joern Poltz, Ilona Wissenbach, writing by Emma Thomasson; editing by Erik Kirschbaum)