Mercedes-Benz affected by emissions defeat device recall in Germany

Mercedes may need to recall 774,000 cars across Europe over diesel emissions manipulation

Number of UK cars affected to be confirmed

MERCEDES-BENZ parent company Daimler has announced a recall of 238,000 cars in Germany after authorities discovered emissions-manipulating software in some models.

The German transport ministry estimates a total of 774,000 passenger vehicles across Europe could be fitted with “defeat devices” similar to those fitted to Volkswagen vehicles in the dieselgate scandal.

It is not currently known how many cars in the UK are affected by the recall.

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The main models affected by the recall in Germany are the Mercedes-Benz GLC mid-sized SUV and Mercedes-Benz Vito van. The diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz C-class (which comes in saloon, estate, convertible and coupe body styles) is also affected.

Reports of Mercedes’ involvement in emissions cheating software surfaced earlier this year, when US authorities were said to have discovered that parent company Daimler had developed software for its diesel vehicles that would shut down vital emissions equipment after driving just a short distance.

The software is said to lower the amount of AdBlue — a chemical that converts toxic NOx gasses in the exhaust into harmless nitrogen and water — being injected after a prescribed time. This results in much higher nitrogen oxide emissions in real-world driving conditions than those claimed by Mercedes under laboratory conditions.

At time of writing, it’s understood the defeat device only requires a software update in order to comply with German regulations. In comparison, some of the cars affected in the UK by Volkswagen’s Dieselgate-triggered voluntary recall did require an extra hardware solution as part of the fix.

In 2015 another German car maker, Volkswagen, admitted cheating in emissions tests on diesel cars. More than 1m British drivers have been caught up in the VW Dieselgate scandal, and around 11m owners worldwide.

German transport minister, Andreas Scheuer said Daimler had pledged to remove the suspect software and co-operate with local authorities.

While the German transport ministry estimates many more vehicles outside Germany are fitted with this defeat device, it remains to be seen whether recalls will be issued in other countries.

This isn’t the first time in recent years that Mercedes-Benz has issued a recall to tackle its cars’ emissions issues. In 2017, it issued a free recall to update software in order to reduce the amount of NOx emitted by its diesel engines. The recall applied to over 3m vehicles in the UK. Mercedes denied any wrongdoing and said the recall was voluntary.

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