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Almost every new Mercedes-Benz diesel car bought in the UK during the past six years is being recalled to improve their emissions performance.

Germany’s Daimler, which makes the vehicles, said the measure to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) output, which will cost the company about €220m (£195m), would involve no cost to owners.

The action is being taken in relation to nearly all cars with diesel engines meeting the Euro 5 standard – implemented in 2011 – and the existing Euro 6 rules.

The firm would not confirm how many UK owners were affected, but said 1 million vehicles in Germany and 2 million in the rest of Europe were being recalled. Last year, 170,000 new Mercedes-Benz cars were registered in the UK.

Diesel emissions have come under scrutiny since Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 that 482,000 of its vehicles in the US were fitted with defeat device software to switch engines to a cleaner mode when undergoing environmental tests.

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