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Thousands of Mercedes cars in the UK to have emissions fix

Thousands of Mercedes cars in the UK to have emissions fix

A major ‘recall’ of a reported three million Mercedes-Benz cars, including every vehicle sold in the UK in the past six years, has been announced so engines can be adjusted to reduce the amount of pollutants they emit.  

The board of management of parent company Daimler has approved what it called the “comprehensive plan for diesel engines”, which has echoes of the long-running emissions ‘cheating’ scandal involving the Volkswagen Group.  

The move follows the launch of an investigation by the German authorities in May into allegations of fraud and criminal advertising by employees of the vehicle manufacturer relating to the possible manipulation of exhaust controls in diesel cars.  

In a statement, Daimler said: “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,”  

Dr Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars went on to say in the statement: “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 “comprehensive plan”, said the statement, comprised a substantial expansion of the current service action for vehicles sold to customers as well as a rapid market launch of a completely new diesel engine family.  

A spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz in the UK told MotorTrader.com that the action was not a ‘recall’ as had been widely reported in the media comparing it to “continuing software updates” needed for laptops and other devices.

The spokesperson also confirmed the exact number of affected cars was presently unknown as the carmaker was analysing VIN numbers ahead of notifying customers. Once notified customers will be invited to take their cars for the software update which was expected to take an hour to complete.  

Since March, Mercedes-Benz has offered its customers of compact-class cars an improvement in NOx emissions for one engine version. Approximately 45% of those cars have subsequently been updated. A voluntary service action is also being carried out for V-Class customers - so far with approximately 75% of the vehicles in Germany.  

The statement continued: “In order to effectively improve the emissions of additional model series, Daimler has now decided to extend the service action to include over three million Mercedes-Benz vehicles. For this purpose, the company’s engineers are making use of latest knowledge gained during the development of the new family of diesel engines.”  

The latest move, at a cost of about €220 million, applied to nearly all Euro5 and Euro6 vehicles sold in Europe and was being carried out in close cooperation with the German regulatory authorities, said the manufacturer.  

The service actions involves no costs for the customers and the statement ended: “The implementation of the measures will be starting in the next weeks. Due to the large number of vehicles this will continue over a longer period of time.”