The German government has ordered Daimler to recall 238,000 vehicles in Germany after they were found to be fitted with illegal software that conceals the true amount of emissions. Daimler said that some 774,000 diesel vehicles in Europe, including diesel versions of the Mercedes C-Class, Vito and GLC, contain “defeat devices,” and that it would recall them all.
After a meeting lasting “many hours,” the German Transport Ministry ordered the “immediate” recall of Daimler vehicles that contained “illegal shutdown devices.” Daimler said it would redesign the software but denied any wrongdoing.
“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,” said Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer.
Is this the sound of another diesel-soaked shoe joining VW’s on the figurative floor? Probably not. Last year, Mercedes retrofitted three million diesel cars. Other carmakers have also been found to use defeat devices – BMW recalled 12,000 diesels over the issue in February, and Porsche recalled 60,000 in May. Neither admitted wrongdoing.
Daimler says the legality of its software is yet to be clarified. Chairman Dieter Zetsche said earlier that the company had found had a technical solution to the software problems, and that he did not expect a fine to be levied.
“The criticized software is part of engine management and so-called auxiliary emissions control devices,” explained Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst. These can be used to shut off emissions controls for legitimate reasons, such as to protect the engine from damage. “We don’t see any evidence that Daimler was designing software to deliberately cheat on emission testing.”