German ministry says 774,000 Mercedes cars contain unauthorized software

Gladys Abbott
June 13, 2018

Daimler said it would fully cooperate to remove the technology that's now in the firing line.

Recent weeks have seen Germany´s KBA vehicle licensing authority hit Volkswagen subsidiaries Audi and Porsche with mass recall orders over their engine control software, as well as a smaller batch of cars from rival BMW.

The authority said it suspected the emissions-control devices were being used in the bulk of Daimler's new diesel auto fleet that was built to comply with the latest Euro 6 emissions standards, encompassing some 1 million vehicles, according to the report.

German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer summoned Zetsche after the KBA's discovery, even as Daimler disputes they were illegal.

The German government has ordered carmaker Daimler to immediately recall 238,000 vehicles equipped with software that turns off emissions controls under certain conditions. In all, the agency believes that this tallies up to around 1 million vehicles across all of Europe.

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The affected diesel models found to be fitted with these devices are the C-Class, Vito and GLC models, as these were the main ones affected.

"Daimler [Mercedes-Benz's parent company] says the applications in the motor control software the federal government has found fault with will be removed at the greatest possible speed and in cooperative transparency with the authorities". The updates were meant to bring older cars into compliance with Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission regulations. Even today it insisted that "Open legal questions will be clarified in the objection proceedings".

Exact details of the issue are yet to be revealed, but it's thought it relates to the AdBlue system. Marchionne's initial comments surrounding the disputed software centered around its inclusion to prolong the life of the engine, leading many to speculate that exhaust gas recirculation or temperature conditioning could be a culprit.

So-called defeat devices were at the heart of Volkswagen´s "dieselgate" scandal, in which the world´s largest carmaker admitted in September 2015 to installing them in 11 million vehicles worldwide.

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