Daimler facing further emission investigations in US and Germany

20 February 2018

Daimler facing further emission investigations in US and Germany

20 February 2018

German vehicle manufacturer Daimler Is once again battling claims of emissions wrongdoing in both Germany and the US, as the Dieselgate scandal continues.

US investigators have found potentially illegal software modifications in Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles, designed to help them pass emissions testing in the country. This is similar software to that discovered within Volkswagen (VW) vehicles which led to the Dieselgate scandal in 2015.

According to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, investigators in the country found an engine management function called ‘Slipguard’ that recognised whether the vehicle was being tested in a laboratory. Another function named ‘Bit 15’ switched off emissions cleaning after 16 miles of driving, the paper said, citing confidential documents.

According to the newspaper, these software applications helped to reduce or regulate the application of the vehicle’s AdBlue system, which helps a vehicles emission system. Their use meant some Mercedes diesels emitted NOx pollutants up to 10 times higher than legally permitted levels, the paper said.

A spokesman for Daimler declined to comment on the content of the documents to Automotive News Europe, saying the automaker was fully cooperating with the US authorities and had agreed upon strict confidentiality with the Department of Justice.

Daimler faces ongoing investigations by US and German authorities into excess diesel emissions. It has said investigations could lead to significant penalties and recalls. VW has paid out around $30 billion (€24.3 billion) in the US in compensation over the Dieselgate scandal.

‘The authorities know the documents and no complaint has been filed,’ the spokesman said. ‘The documents available to Bild have obviously selectively been released to harm Daimler and its 290,000 employees.’

Meanwhile, Germany’s Transport Ministry has said it was reviewing whether to initiate a formal hearing of Daimler to probe the alleged use of a defeat device in the Mercedes-Benz Vito van.

Daimler said it is engaged in ‘technical talks’ with Germany's motor vehicle authority KBA about emissions levels on about 1,000 Vito vehicles. Any formal talks could see recalls and penalties issued by the authority to Daimler, which would need to instigate software changes in the commercial vehicles.

Daimler was raided earlier in 2017 over emissions allegations and recalled three million vehicles to retrofit them with new software, a move which later became part of Germany’s 5.3 million vehicle recall. Meanwhile, German prosecutors are also investigating BMW, something the company has denied.