Mercedes-Benz responds to allegations of emissions cheating in diesels
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But the topic of emissions cheating has largely been isolated to manufacturers under the Volkswagen Group umbrella. That's until now, with multiple European outlets (including Bild am Sonntag and Der Spiegel magazine) claiming that Mercedes-Benz's parent company, Daimler Group, has also used similar masking software.
The claims cover diesel engines used in the C-Class, the G-Class, the Vito from MB's commercial division. The claims peaked when the KBA (Germany's federal motor transport authority) issued a recall to approximately 6300 Vito vans equipped with the Euro 6–certified 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine that Bild claims features "illicit software that allowed the vehicles to emit excess pollution without detection".
A total recall across the C-Class and G-Class could affect a multitude of vehicles. Bild claims 120,000 vehicles could be covered by the recall, while others have said the number could be as high as 600,000.
Off the back of the standing Vito recall, Daimler issued this statement (emphasis ours):
"Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has officially notified Daimler AG that it must carry out a recall of its Vito van model with the 1.6-liter diesel Euro 6 engine. According to the KBA’s interpretation of the law, the specific programming of two functions of the vehicle’s engine control does not comply with the applicable regulations.
Those functions are part of a complex emission-control system that is intended to ensure robust exhaust-gas cleaning during varying driving conditions and over the vehicle’s lifetime. This specific programming of the engine control is not required for passing the relevant NEDC test cycle.
Daimler will object this administrative order by the KBA. If necessary, the company will arrange for the disputed interpretation of the law to be clarified in a court of law.
Irrespective of the legal clarification of this case, Daimler will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities. After receiving the approval of the KBA, Daimler will carry out a software update for the programming in question. Furthermore, the Vito is already included in our service campaign with software updates for more than three million Mercedes-Benz vehicles, which will improve their exhaust emissions.
The customers will be informed as soon as the update is available. The software update will of course be carried out free of charge."
As noted by Daimler's response statement, the company are already in the middle of an ongoing 2017 recall on approximately three million cars in Europe to improve their emissions.
"The public debate about diesel engines is creating uncertainty — especially for our customers. [...] We have therefore decided on additional measures to reassure drivers of diesel cars and to strengthen confidence in diesel technology," Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said at the time.
We'll keep you posted as the story unfolds.
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