Daimler to recall 774,000 Mercedes models due to emission 'defeat devices'

The recall is understood to include the newest, EU6 diesel engines; the number of UK cars affected is unknown

The German Transport Ministry has ordered Mercedes-Benz to recall up to 774,000 cars across Europe after tests found they run unauthorised software, or a so-called defeat device, that could be used to manipulate diesel exhaust emissions.

In an official statement, the German Transport Ministry said it had ordered Mercedes-Benz to immediately recall selected Vito, C-Class and GLC models in Germany.

“The government will order 238,000 Daimler vehicles to be immediately recalled Germany wide because of unauthorized defeat devices,” the Ministry said.

Daimler is the parent company of Mercedes-Benz.

Among the models said to be affected by the latest in a raft of recalls for diesel cars across Europe are the Vito 119 CDI, C220d and GLC220d.

The German Transport Ministry has not indicated the age of the cars involved, though officials suggest they include latest generation models with EU6 emission certification.  

News of the recall comes after the German Transport Minister, Andreas Scheuer, met with Mercedes-Benz chairman, Dieter Zetsche, in Berlin to discuss what has been described as “irregularities in independent test results of various Mercedes-Benz models featuring the German car maker’s turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine”.

Following the discussion, Scheuer said Daimler had pledged to remove the suspect software and co-operate with authorities.

Among the functions brought into question by the German Transport Ministry is software used to regulate the amount of Ad Blue solution injected into the SCR filter included on the Mercedes-Benz in question.

Autocar understands the software is programmed to lower the amount of Ad Blue being injected into the SCR filter after a prescribed time. This lowers the efficiency of the SCR filter and leads to much higher nitrous oxide emissions in real-world driving conditions than those claimed by Mercedes-Benz under test conditions.

In accepting the recall, Zetsche said Mercedes-Benz had developed a technical solution that would enable it to update the software in a move he suggests would see the company avoid possible fines by the European Union.

In a separate statement, though, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler said the question over the legality of the software still needed to be clarified.

In recent weeks, Mercedes-Benz has defended its diesel engine software, saying it conforms to the law prescribed by the EU. In certain situations, car makers are permitted to switch off the SCR filter in diesel engines in the interests of engine longevity.

At this stage, it is not known how many cars are affected by the recall in the UK, though given the popularity of models such as the C220d and GLC220d in Britain, the number is thought to be extensive.

An official from the German Transport Ministry told Autocar it is only authorised to order a recall of cars within its own borders, or those cars issued with a pan European road worthiness certification, suggesting Mercedes-Benz diesel owners in the UK will have to wait until local authorities order their own recall before full details to a possible Britain wide recall are revealed.   

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Source: Autocar Online

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