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Mercedes hit with new diesel recall

C-lean Class: Mercedes-Benz believes its updated diesel C-Class will not fall afoul of any emissions regulations suffered by its predecessor.

Australia awaits orders on Mercedes-Benz diesel software fix for ‘cheat’ devices

13 Jun 2018

MERCEDES-BENZ Australia/Pacific is standing by for instructions from head office in Stuttgart about how to deal with a proposed recall to fix allegedly illegal diesel engine emissions control software on C220d cars and GLC220d SUVs with the latest Euro 6 four-cylinder engines.


The German transport ministry has ordered the company to immediately recall 774,000 cars and vans across Europe because of “unauthorised defeat devices”. The European Union has backed the order, asking member countries to follow suit.


The Australian subsidiary expects to fall into line with the recall once the fix is available, but it is awaiting formal advice on timing, affected cars and other details.


Mercedes-Benz denies any wrongdoing, but after talks between Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche and German transport minister Andreas Scheuer in Berlin yesterday, it agreed to apply a software fix to the affected vehicles.


In a statement on parent company Daimler’s Twitter feed, the company said: “Daimler confirms the recall. Open legal questions will be clarified in the objection proceedings.”


The company appears to be at odds with the German transport authority, Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), on what constitutes cheating.


According to German news reports, five alleged cheat devices had been found in diesel engine software on Mercedes vehicles.


Last month, the KBA ordered a recall on 4923 Vito vans with a 1.6-litre diesel engine that, it said, did not comply with regulations.

Fellow German luxury car-maker Audi has also been hit with a compulsory recall notice on 60,000 3.0-litre V6 diesel Audi A6 and A7 cars because of illegal emissions control software.


Audi further plunged into the mire when CEO Rupert Stadler was named by German authorities as a suspect in a fraud investigation over the dieselgate affair.


So far, few details of the alleged breach by Mercedes have been given, but Britain’s Autocar reports that the software in question reduces the amount of Ad Blue additive into the exhaust after a prescribed time.


This apparently lowers the efficiency of the filter that is designed to cut nitrogen oxide emissions in real-world driving conditions.


Mr Zetsche was quoted as saying Mercedes-Benz had developed a technical solution that would allow it to update the software.


Mercedes-Benz has already committed to changing the software on more than three million diesel vehicles worldwide to ensure compliance.


So far, Mercedes has escaped fines and buyback costs that beset Volkswagen Group, presumably because it has complied with government demands while at the same time denying wrongdoing.


Compared with Europe, the numbers of cars affected by the latest recall in Australia is expected to be small, perhaps in the hundreds at most, even though the C-Class is the top-selling luxury car in the land and the GLC wagon and coupe among the leaders in the mid-sized luxury SUV segment.


The C220d was introduced to Australia in July last year, along with the top-selling petrol C300.


Since then, company has sold about 6200 C-Class sedans and wagons, but only a small slice were fitted with the 220d engine. Most C-Class cars are sold with petrol power – in four-cylinder, V6 and V8 forms – or diesel with the 250d engine.


In the same time frame, Mercedes has sold 3487 GLCs, with those sales spread across six different powertrains.

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