Daimler next to be investigated over suspicions of emissions cheating
It seems that the explosive Volkswagen (VW) emissions scandal has really opened a can of worms as regulatory authorities are making their way around car manufacturers, checking for similar illegal behaviour.
Next on the list is Daimler, parent company of the luxury brand Mercedes Benz.
Not so long ago, regulators began in internal investigation into Daimler amidst concerns that the auto company was also using emissions cheating devices similar to VW’s. Not long after that, a lawsuit was made against Daimler as well.
Daimler denied liability on the basis that the allegations were “completely unfounded”. However, if Daimler is found to have cheated in a similar way to VW, they could be on their way to following in VW’s footsteps and pay billions for various fines and settlements.
Six months after investigations began, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) probed Daimler’s emissions certification process, and authorities have also looked into other car makers including Fiat Chrysler – of which we are investigating allegations made against them. However, the classification of a “defeat device” was stricter than expected, and whilst they were suspected of intentionally using ‘undisclosed software’ to pass official testing, Fiat defended themselves by distancing their software to the ones used by VW.
Not long after the DOJ’s probe was announced, shares fell by 7%, and their first quarter profits were down by 31%.
It can come down to the definition of a “defeat device”
Daimler has spoken out about the investigations, painfully admitting that, if the DOJ was to redefine the parameters of emissions cheating to include “auxiliary emission control software” allegedly used by Fiat Chrysler, then they could be liable too as Daimler have used similar software.
“We sharply deny the allegation that we manipulated our cars during emissions tests. We never did and do not now use a defeat device.”
However, their wording doesn’t necessarily cover manipulative software already installed and, depending on definition, it could be software that doesn’t necessarily conform as a “defeat device”. In another statement, Daimler said:
“In light of the ongoing governmental information requests, inquiries and investigations, and our own internal investigation, it cannot be ruled out that the authorities might reach the conclusion that Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles have similar functionalities.”
Make of that what you will.
Investors losing faith…
It is no wonder that Daimler’ investors are losing faith in the company, as only a few weeks ago, Daimler was forced to recall over a million of its brand new Mercedes vehicles after 51 reports of fires. Whilst there were no reported injuries or fatalities, no owner wants to spend thousands upon thousands for a car with a defective fuse that might set the car on fire.
Around 75,000 of these recalled cars are in the U.K.
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