Dieselgate: Mercedes-Benz Vito suspected by German authorities for emission fraud

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Not a day goes by without news about a car manufacturer that is struggling to meet new, stringent emission standards. Today it is the turn of Mercedes-Benz, which issues a recall for the Vito because it might not comply with emission rules and is suspected by German authorities of being fitted with cheating software.

The affected model is the Vito with the 1.6-liter diesel engine, in 109 CDI (88 hp) and 111 CDI (114 hp) guises. The problem is caused by a software designed to reduce the amount of harmful substances. On closer inspection, the conscious control unit would not comply with the rules, which would have come to the fore during an investigation by the German Ministry of Transport into the presence of emission manipulation software. According to the regulator, the systems that have to regulate the emissions of the diesel engine do not comply with the applicable requirements.

The motor in question, known in the specification list as ‘OM 622 DE16 LA’, is a special commercial vehicle variant of an engine that Renault and Mercedes also use in different passenger cars. As a result, Daimler may have to recall more than 600,000 copies of the C-class as well, among other things. The public prosecutor in Stuttgart, the home of Mercedes-Benz, works together with the French authorities to investigate the practices of the brand, since the diesel engines of the Vito and C-class come from Renault.

Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of the Mercedes-Benz parent company, was accountable on Monday in a meeting with the German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer because of the KBA federal transport authority’s order last week to recall 6,300 copies of the Vito.

According to a report by Der Spiegel, the investigation of the German KBA has recently been extended in response to concrete indications for the presence of illegal software.

Mercedes-Benz already issued an official response on this matter, reproduced below in its entirity.


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.