Daimler Settles in American Diesel Emissions Investigation

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
daimler settles in american diesel emissions investigation

Daimler reached an agreement this week to settle U.S. proceedings related to an investigation into software that’s presumed to cheat diesel emissions tests. While not an admission of guilt, it’s going to cost the company a sizable $1.5 billion — which is a lot to spend on a simple misunderstanding.

After Volkswagen Group admitted to using engine management software designed to falsify emission testing data, there has been a target panted on the back of every other company operating within the auto industry. If VW could get away with such shenanigans for years, there’s reason to believe other carmakers may have engaged in similar behaviors.

Realists know this goes without saying. Increasingly stringent pollution regulations (especially on diesel motors) have become difficult for even the largest players to contend with, and are one of the reasons so many startups are focused entirely on building electric cars — stock market madness being the other.

Meanwhile, the automotive sector has enjoyed a long and storied history of acting badly, then shrugging it off. We couldn’t possibly count the number of times companies knowingly released bum components and then did everything in their power to avoid a recall, or fibbed on their mpg figures.

It’s just the way things are done. But that doesn’t mean everyone gets away with it.

“With the proposed settlements, the company takes an important step towards legal certainty with respect to various diesel proceedings in the United States,” Daimler said in a release on Thursday.

That’s nothing compared to what Volkswagen spent on Dieselgate — a sum that is bearing down on $40 billion USD after five years of litigation. But the Mercedes-Benz parent may not be out of the woods just yet. Daimler is already estimating an additional sum “of a mid three-digit-million [euro] amount to fulfill requirements of the settlements.”

It also expects a corresponding impact on the free cash flow of the business over the next 3 years. The brunt of this damage is expected to take place within the next 12 months, however.

[Image: Pixfly/Shutterstock]

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  • Dusterdude Dusterdude on Aug 13, 2020

    They got off too lightly when comparing relatively to VW penalty. ( even with expected "additional sum of a mid three-digit-million [euro] amount to fulfill requirements of the settlements.” )

  • Sceptic Sceptic on Aug 14, 2020

    This is nonsense. EPA is simply shifting the blame for their incompetence on auto manufacturers. How in the world did those vehicles pass the tests!? How hard is it to design a real world emissions test? Pure government Incompetence. They should investigate the government bureaucrats who did not do their job.

  • MRF 95 T-Bird One of the reasons why Mopar dropped the removal top version was that the marketing department found that few owners, maybe 20% took the trouble to unbolt and remove the heavy fiberglass roof.
  • Zerofoo The UAW understands that this is their last stand. Their future consists of largely robot assembled EVs that contain far fewer parts. Factories moving to southern "right to work" states and factories moving to the southern-most state of Mexico.I don't think lights-out auto factories are on the horizon, but UAW demands might move those automated manufacturing process timelines up.McDonalds opened a fully automated restaurant in Texas in 2022 in response to a $15/hour minimum wage demand. I'm fairly certain that at $130/hr - fully robotic car factories start to make sense.
  • Redapple2 Cherry 20 yr old Defenders are $100,000 +. Til now.
  • Analoggrotto So UAW is singling out Ford, treating them slightly better in order to motivate the entire effort. Mildly Machiavellian but this will cost them dearly in the future. The type of ill will and betrayal the Detroit-3 must be feeling right now will be the utter demise of UAW. I just hope that this tribulation is not affecting Mary Barra's total hotness.
  • Redapple2 I guessed they were ~$150,000. Maybe attainable.