Daimler downplays report on rigged USA emission-test software


In Daimler's annual report released this month, the automaker said it remains "convinced that diesel engines will continue to be a firm element of the drive-system mix" but said it's still under diesel-related investigation by the Department of Justice, EPA, California Air Resources Board, Securities and Exchange Commission, and certain individual states, in addition to various global bodies.

Investigators in the United States are still probing whether Daimler AG cheated on US diesel emissions tests. The software is similar to Volkswagen's, according to the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. While there is no confirmation yet that Mercedes-Benz has used a similar emission cheating software as Volkswagen, investigators in U.S. have found irregularity in emission from the diesel powered models of the brand.

The EPA in February 2016 requested information from Mercedes-Benz to explain emissions levels in some of its diesel cars. A spokesperson from Daimler told Reuters, "The authorities know the documents and no complaint has been filed". Since the Volkswagen scandal, regulators both in the US and Europe have placed intense scrutiny on other automakers' diesel engines, including Mercedes. Some of the emails leaked to Bild am Sonntag quoted MB engineers concerned that the software mods may not be legal.

Daimler reportedly then, like Volkswagen, developed software with several functions to be able to trick USA regulators.

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The software programs are alleged to have been tailored to the specific demands of various cycles in the U.S. emission testing procedure, allowing the diesel engine of Mercedes-Benz models to run in an ultra-clean state, but only for limited periods of time, after which it was then switched into a so-called "dirty mode".

German luxury auto manufacturer Mercedes-Benz is under scanner of the government agencies of US and Germany for irregularity in emission. Both these reports come on the heels of the revelation that auto industry titans Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler funded a study that tested the effects of gas nitrogen dioxide on humans and monkeys.

There has been growing scrutiny of diesel vehicles since Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to installing secret software on 580,000 U.S. vehicles that allowed them to emit up to 40 times legally allowable emissions while meeting standards when tested by regulators. In Volkswagen's case, some so-called AECDs constituted illegal defeat devices.