Mercedes accused again of using emission cheat devices

Fraud or not?
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A new scandal is about to break out: Mercedes is again accused of using eight emission cheat devices and in fact NOx emissions from certain diesel engines were 500% higher.

Mercedes has been accused since 2017 of using emission cheat devices.
Now, the Environmental Action Germany (DUH), a non-profit organization, has accused Mercedes of using up to eight defeat devices on its Euro 6 cix-cylinder 3.0-liter BlueTec engines, as found in the E-Class.

According to the DUH, a multitude of different strategies were used to manipulate exhaust gas treatment, resulting in nitrogen oxide emissions increasing by 500%. With the help of these emission cheat devices, NOx emissions increased by up to 500% during normal driving.

DUH chief Jurgen Rensch said these polluting vehicles must be recalled.

A Mercedes spokesman said: “These calibrations are known. These are not to be assessed as illegal defeat devices in the interaction and overall context of the highly complex emission control system”.

In 95% of cases, all lawsuits were settled in favor of Daimler. There were 15,500 decisions in favor of Daimler and only 900 against.

The German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) released a statement shortly after the allegations, saying: ‘In the report, eight defeat devices of the relevant model with the OM 642 diesel engine are named. We are aware of these. They have already been checked and found to be not inadmissible. ‘

But on the other hand, DUH tested a 2016 Mercedes E350 BlueTec 4MATIC estate and found a multitude of different strategies. They did this by measuring exhaust gas emissions and data from engine software.

The result: on the test bench, the vehicle complies with the legal nitrogen oxide limits. With a similar driving profile on the road, however, nitrogen oxide emissions explode by up to 500%. And in Sport Mode, the emissions has increased to 750-850 mg/km, with no exhaust treatment in many phases.

Resch adds: “We recommend that customers affected by this Mercedes contact and ask them to make the car work to the emissions regulations”.

Starting with November 3, 2021, owners of models with the OM651 engine can file a complaint with the Federal Office of Justice. A model complaint against Daimler AG was prepared by the Federal Association of Consumer Organization (vzbv). The accusation: the use of emission cheat devices and manipulation of exhaust gas values.

However, it seems that the number of affected models is much higher. In sight are passenger cars, SUVs and small vans with OM642 and OM651 engines. Here we include C-Class W203 and E-Class W211 from 2005 with OM642 engine, S-Class, R-Class and E-Class 350 CDI with more powerful OM642 LS engine, C-Class W204 and W205 with OM651 engine since 2008.

Here is the evolution of the scandal from the begining in MARCH 2017.

March 2017
As early in March 2017, the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), the German road vehicle authority, discovered that Daimler had used emission cheat devices.
At that time, Daimler went to court and proved that the so-called thermal window is considered to be permissible and the accusation of an illegal cheat device is wrong.

Although Daimler has agreed to recall 247,000 diesel models to adapt the technology, on July 14, 2017, Daimler officially stated that it did not accept the allegations that it used illegal devices made by KBA.

“Exhaust gas regulation is an extremely complex issue from a technical and legal point of view, the car manufacturer declared. “Based on the information we have, we would take all legal action against the accusation of an illegal defeat device by the KBA.”

July 2017
After the scandal initially broke out only in the US, at the end of March 2017, the German justice began investigating the employees suspected of fraud.

In late May 2017, police and prosecutors searched numerous Daimler locations to obtain evidence that could corroborate investigators’ suspicions. Daimler himself informed his legal department that he wanted to cooperate “fully” with the authorities during the searches. The producer did not wish to provide further information on the ongoing investigation. A Daimler spokeswoman said: “We are fully cooperating with the authorities. We do not comment on speculation”.

February 2019 
In February 2019, Justice alleges that Mercedes installed unauthorized devices in the OM642 and OM651 engines between 2008 and 2016 that falsified the measurement of emissions according to the NEDC cycle.But Daimler defends himself by saying that he complied with the legislation in force. The point of contention is – as in the case of other manufacturers – a so-called thermal window, which regulates the treatment of exhaust gases downwards in certain temperature ranges.Like other manufacturers, Daimler has agreed with KBA to voluntarily recall 270,000 compact and V-Class models to adapt technology and reduce NOx emissions. Eventually the number of recalls rose to 3 million. The same operation was done by BMW and Audi, which adapted half of the Euro 5 models.

April 2019
 There are new allegations of fraud for 60,000 Mercedes GLK 220 CDI Euro 5 models. It is rumored that the emissions of the GLK 220 CDI have been reduced with the help of a soft only on the test bench and not in traffic.

The software controls the temperature by keeping the coolant temperature at a lower value and delays the heating of the engine oil. Thus, the NOx values ​​remain below the limit of 180 mg/km imposed by the NEDC cycle. but when climbing slopes or at maximum load, this limit could be exceeded.

KBA has discovered this software on the OM651 diesel engine since the fall of 2018. Daimler did not initially comment, but company officials later said they would cooperate fully with KBA.

September 2019
Following the scandal, Mercedes was sentenced to pay a fine of 870 million euros in September 2019. Mercedes did not appeal the decision.

684,000 models were recalled and another 60,000 followed in the spring. Eventually the number of recalls from the summer of 2017 reached 3 million units with Euro 5 and euro 6. The campaign was part of a “future plan for diesel engines” decided by the Board of Management on July 18, 2017.

October 2019
The scandal extends to 260,000 Sprinter commercial vehicles of which 100,000 in Germany. These are Euro 5 models manufactured by 2016.

January 2020
The diesel scandal raises the level of expenses by another 1.1 – 1.5 billion euros due “to official and legal procedures and measures in place for Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles in various regions and markets “.

This time, these costs have affected the balance sheet for 2019 when Mercedes, like other manufacturers, is facing rising costs for the development of electric platforms.

Then, the new CEO Ola Kallenius launched an austerity program that would bring savings of 1.4 billion euros by the end of 2022. This also led to a reduction of 10,000 in the number of jobs and the abandonment of some unprofitable models.

January 2021
In January 2021 there was a first referral from the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) regarding the accusation of the illegal defeat device to Mercedes diesel engines.

Consequently, the development and use of a thermal window is not sufficient to be entitled to compensation for intentional immoral damage. For this, it must be established that Daimler employees acted knowing that “they were using an inadmissible defeat device and accepted with approval the violation of the law contained therein”, according to BGH.