Brussels - EU governments and lawmakers have agreed to more stringent car approval procedures in the wake of the 'Dieselgate' emissions scandal.

Under the new rules, to be introduced in 2020, the European Commission would be able to carry out its own spot checks on cars, trigger recalls and impose fines of up to 30 000 euros (R485 000) per vehicle, among other things.

Consumer organisations welcomed the deal, which still requires the formal approval of member states and the European Parliament.

"Dieselgate has revealed the weaknesses of our regulatory and market surveillance system," said EU Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska.

"We know that some car manufacturers were cheating and many others were exploiting loopholes. To put an end to this, we are overhauling the whole system," she added.

At present, national authorities are responsible for testing and authorising new vehicle models in the European Union. The new rules aim to give the bloc's executive independent oversight.

The Dieselgate scandal began in 2015, when Volkswagen was forced to admit to installing software on its "clean diesel" vehicle models to manipulate engine performance when testing conditions were detected.

The cheating scheme has cost the company some 24 billion dollars in settlements and damages, and other manufacturers have also been implicated in the scandal.