UPDATE: Daimler's statement in response to the recall order affecting 1.6-litre diesel variants of the Vito van, has been added to this article.
Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz, could be facing an investigation from German authorities due to suspected use of emissions-cheating software in its diesel engines.
According to industry journal Automotive News Europe, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported some 40,000 Vito vans and 80,000 C-Class models fitted with diesel motors may need to be recalled as they could be fitted with "illicit software that allowed the vehicles to emit excess pollution without detection".
The German newspaper also reported Daimler has submitted a software update for regulatory approval, which follows Bild's previous coverage that Mercedes-Benz could also be ordered to recall 600,000 diesel-powered C-Class and G-Class vehicles for similar reasons.
Earlier this week, Germany's federal motor transport authority, the KBA, ordered Daimler to recall around 6300 Mercedes-Benz Vito vans globally fitted with the Euro 6-certified 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine due to engine control software that breached regulations.
In response to the KBA's order regarding the Vito, Daimler issued the following statement:
"Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has officially notified Daimler AG that it must carry out a recall of its Vito van model with the 1.6-liter diesel Euro 6 engine. According to the KBA’s interpretation of the law, the specific programming of two functions of the vehicle’s engine control does not comply with the applicable regulations.
Those functions are part of a complex emission-control system that is intended to ensure robust exhaust-gas cleaning during varying driving conditions and over the vehicle’s lifetime. This specific programming of the engine control is not required for passing the relevant NEDC test cycle.
Daimler will object this administrative order by the KBA. If necessary, the company will arrange for the disputed interpretation of the law to be clarified in a court of law.
Irrespective of the legal clarification of this case, Daimler will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities. After receiving the approval of the KBA, Daimler will carry out a software update for the programming in question. Furthermore, the Vito is already included in our service campaign with software updates for more than three million Mercedes-Benz vehicles, which will improve their exhaust emissions.
The customers will be informed as soon as the update is available. The software update will of course be carried out free of charge."
We've reached out to Mercedes-Benz's local division regarding Australian impact, and are awaiting a response. Stay tuned.