Daimler forced to recall Mercedes with defeat devices

Daimler has pledged to work on removing the software and to co-operate with authorities, the ministry said.

The announcement came a day after Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported that the national road vehicle authority KBA had found five illegal switch-off devices in Daimler diesels.

Germany ordered Monday the recall of some 774,000 vehicles from Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler across Europe, citing illegal "defeat devices" created to hide high levels of harmful emissions from regulators´ tests.

German transport minister Andreas Scheuer said the ministry and Daimler had "negotiated intensively for many hours" on Monday.

It relates to four-cylinder turbo-diesel engines fitted to Euro6-compatible 220d variants of the C-class and GLC SUV, as well as the Vito van. In all, the agency believes that this tallies up to around 1 million vehicles across all of Europe. All three models are sold in New Zealand, although NZ-new diesel cars are only required to meet Euro 5.

Daimler said last month it would appeal against an order by the KBA to recall the Mercedes van Vito 1.6l Diesel Euro 6 model, following a transport ministry investigation.

"Daimler states that it will, at maximum speed and with co-operative transparency with the authorities, remove the applications in the engine control system which the government objects to", he said.

In a separate statement, Daimler confirmed the recall and said the question over the legality of the software would still need to be clarified. But Mercedes software potentially reduces the quantity of AdBlue after a set period of time, improving performance and fuel economy but increasing harmful nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions.

"The whole European vehicle industry is still stuck in this diesel quagmire, and everything that´s been done so far has done nothing to set it free", auto industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer of the vehicle research centre told AFP - pointing also to Italian and French automakers.

The KBA has also hit VW-owned Audi and Porsche with emissions-related recalls this year, as well as BMW.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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