China will implement an upgraded version of emission standards for vehicles nationwide from July 1, the country's environment ministry said on Tuesday, pressuring automakers to clear inventories of their old models ahead of the new rules.

China will ban production, imports and sales of vehicles that do not comply with the National VI B emission standards, which include stricter requirements on pollutants including carbon monoxide of gas and petrol vehicles, from July 1, according to the statement from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

It will also require Real-Driving Emission (RDE) tests of the vehicles while driven on the road, which are not required in the current standards of National VI A implemented since July 2020.

The plans for stricter auto emissions standards have added pressure to automakers and dealers to clear inventories of vehicles that do not meet the standard, leading to aggressive discounts on those models, Fitch Ratings analysts said in March.

According to the China Automobile Dealers Association, which called for a grace period of the new standards on auto sales, there was an inventory of around 2 million vehicles that fail to meet the RDE tests in the upcoming new standards as of the end of March. (Reporting by Zhang Yan and Brenda Goh; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)