German authorities believe around 280,000 vehicles sold there were fitted with software to cheat emission tests.
- shares

Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, is reportedly looking at a massive fine due to the use of emissions testing defeat devices on a number of its most popular vehicles.

According to Der Spiegel, prosecutors in Stuttgart, Germany, are planning to fine the automaker between €800 million and €1 billion ($1.3 and $1.6 billion).

Under German legislation, automakers can be fined up to €5000 ($8080) for each affected vehicle. A final decision on the amount will be decided in either September or October.

Criminal investigations into Daimler employees and their roles in the affair will likely stretch into 2020 as the automaker has legal objections to the use of seized data.

The news magazine says the German vehicle authority (KBA) found emissions testing cheat devices fitted to at least 280,000 C-Class and E-Class cars sold in the country. The KBA will order Mercedes-Benz to recall these vehicles.

Software in these vehicles can detect when it is being subjected to emissions bench tests and output emissions within legal limits. When driven on the road, though, these cars are said to be non-compliant.

Daimler recently reported a €1.6 billion ($2.6 billion) loss for the second quarter of 2019, and increased fine provisions.

During the last two years, German prosecutors have handed large fines to Volkswagen Group companies for their role in developing and selling diesel vehicles which actively lied about the true state of their emissions.

In 2018, Volkswagen was fined €1 billion ($1.6 billion), while Audi was given an €800 million ($1.3 billion) penalty. This year, Porsche accepted a €535 million ($865 million) fine for its role in the Dieselgate scheme.