Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler have been investigated by U.S. officials for using “cheat devices” to pass diesel emissions tests in the U.S. and it appears Daimler AG is next to put its head on the block.
Investigators found Mercedes-Benz cars were equipped with software which may have helped them to pass diesel emissions tests, German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported citing confidential documents.
A Daimler spokesman said the company was cooperating fully with U.S. authorities and had agreed to strict confidentiality with the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The authorities know the documents and no complaint has been filed,” the spokesman told Reuters. “The documents available to Bild have obviously selectively been released in order to harm Daimler and its 290,000 employees.”
(Justice Department offers FCA settlement on diesel emissions. Click Here for the story.)
The move isn’t all that surprising as the EPA requested information from Mercedes-Benz in February 2016 to explain emissions levels in some of its diesels.
Daimler reported to investors it was the subject of ongoing investigations by U.S. and German authorities over potential diesel emissions violations, which could lead to significant penalties and recalls.
The aforementioned automakers, VW and FCA, have been through similar inquiries. Volkswagen took the biggest hit. The automaker has been tagged for more than $30 billion in fines, fees and penalties to make its diesel-based wrongs right again.
(VW fires exec who OK’d emissions tests on monkeys. Click Here for the latest.)
The most current is the $2 billion it will invest in an electric vehicle charging network and stations across the U.S. In addition, FCA was just offered a financial settlement in its case by the Justice Department. The automaker was accused of
The Justice Department wants to settle its probe accusing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of rigging more than 100,000 diesel-powered vehicles to illegally pass emissions tests – but its offer would require “substantial” penalties.
Regulators have accused FCA of using a defeat device, software similar to what was used by Volkswagen, to bring down emissions of exhaust gases like smog-causing oxides of nitrogen while undergoing tests. Under real-world operation, however, the vehicles reportedly would produce substantially more of the emissions than legally permissible.
(Automakers spending over $20b annually as recalls and repair costs surge. Click Here for more.)
The alleged scheme has gotten FCA into trouble on both sides of the Atlantic. In German, prosecutors are ramping up their own investigation into apparent collusion between Fiat Chrysler and mega-supplier Robert Bosch. The company, which has supplied engine control technology to FCA, as well as VW and other automakers, claims it did not attempt to hold the Italian-American automaker sidestep regulatory mandates.
The Bloomberg news service said it has reviewed a letter sent on Jan. 27 by the U.S. Justice Dept. to FCA offering to settle the case. However, it said any deal “must include very substantial civil penalties.”