Daimler announced Tuesday the recall of 3 million Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles in Europe to address concerns about emissions.
The German automaker plans to spend $255 million to correct the problem, the company said in a statement.
The recalls expand a service action that began in March on about 274,000 compact cars and V-Class vans. Since then, Mercedes-Benz has offered its customers an improvement in NOx emissions for one engine version. It said about 45 percent of those cars have been updated and voluntary service action is also being carried out for V-Class cars.
“The public debate about diesel engines is creating uncertainty — especially for our customers. We have therefore decided on additional measures to reassure drivers of diesel cars and to strengthen confidence in diesel technology,” Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, said. “We are convinced that diesel engines will continue to be a fixed element of the drive-system mix, not least due to their low CO2 emissions.”
The voluntary software update, which will take an hour, was not issued by a regulator, a spokesman said Tuesday.
“This is finally a proactive move to put something on the table and a solid attempt at getting out in front of the debate,” analyst Juergen Pieper told Bloomberg.
Earlier Tuesday, the regional government in the company’s home region agreed to abandon proposals to restrict diesels if older models could be mechanically fixed to pollute less, the DPA news agency reported.
Last week, Daimler executives were summoned to attend a meeting with German government officials in Berlin to explain the automaker’s role in possible diesel-emissions cheating after two engines used in Mercedes vehicles drew increased scrutiny from prosecutors.
In 2016, Germany’s transport ministry issued a voluntary recall on 630,000 cars after finding several companies – including Mercedes and Opel — were using technology that switched off emissions treatment systems at certain temperatures.
In May, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a legal complaint against Fiat Chrysler alleging the automaker violated federal emissions laws with “cheat devices” on Dodge 1500 Ram trucks and Jeep Grand Cherokees. Chrysler formerly was owned by Daimler.
In 2015, Volkswagen — also a German automaker — admitted that it installed software to bypass pollution rules in cars starting with 2009 model year. It was subsequently forced to pay billions in fines and restitution to settle the case.
By Allen Cone