Daimler to 'Voluntarily' Recall 3 Million Vehicles in Europe Over Diesel Emissions

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

With Volkswagen’s emission crisis winding down (but seemingly never over), Daimler AG is taking center stage as the next automaker to potentially face serious hardship for dastardly diesel misdeeds. For the last few months, investigators from the United States and Germany have begun suspecting that Mercedes-Benz equipped its vehicles with defeat devices similar to those used by VW. While no evidence of fraud has surfaced, there’s reason to believe Daimler may have violated emission standards — especially now that it has decided to recall 3 million late-model diesels.

“The public debate about diesel engines is creating uncertainty,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said in a statement on Tuesday. “We have therefore decided on additional measures to reassure drivers of diesel cars and to strengthen confidence in diesel technology.”

The plan involves a software patch and will cost the automaker roughly 220 million euros ($255 million), but could theoretically save it billions if this avoids a scandal on the scale of Volkswagen’s. The recall, which comprises practically every modern-era diesel-engined automobile Mercedes has produced, is extremely likely to spill over into the United States — primarily due to its more stringent regulation of NOx emissions.

Daimler stated that, by recalling the vehicles, it was “making a significant contribution to the reduction of nitrogen-oxide emissions from diesel vehicles in European inner cities.”

The automaker claimed previously that the accusations against it were preposterous and that it would fight back using all legal means at its disposal. It also expressed its distaste for the frequent raids it endured from Stuttgart prosecutors. While automotive manufacturers found themselves subjected to a bit of a diesel emissions witch hunt following VW’s crisis, some industry analysts assumed it would only be a matter of time before investigators would uncover another major scandal.

Whether or not Mercedes-Benz is guilty of emissions cheating remains up for debate, but Daimler seems to be taking every precaution to ensure it doesn’t get caught with its pants down.

“This is finally a proactive move to put something on the table and a solid attempt at getting out in front of the debate,” Juergen Pieper, an analyst with Bankhaus Metzler, expressed to Bloomberg as news of the recall broke. Pieper considered the recall cost Daimler of 70 euros per car “extraordinarily low,” suggesting it may rise.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has specified it is continuing to evaluate light-duty diesel vehicles from several manufacturers, but was unwilling to comment on the status of Mercedes’ vehicles or the status of any pending investigations.

[Image: Mercedes-Benz]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • 1995 SC On the plus side, I found a sedan I want to buy
  • Teddyc73 As I asked earlier under another article, when did "segment" or "class" become "space"? Does using that term make one feel more sophisticated? If GM's products in other segments...I mean "space" is more profitable then sedans then why shouldn't they discontinue it.
  • Robert Absolutely!!! I hate SUV's , I like the better gas milage and better ride and better handling!! Can't take a SUV 55mph into a highway exit ramp! I can in my Malibu and there's more than enough room for 5 and trunk is plenty big enough for me!
  • Teddyc73 Since when did automakers or car companies become "OEM". Probably about the same time "segment" or "class" became "space". I wish there were more sedans. I would like an American sedan. However, as others have stated, if they don't sell in large enough quantities to be profitable the automakers...I mean, "OEMs" aren't going to build them. It's simple business.
  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
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