Stop us if you've heard this before: A major automaker will recall hundreds of thousands of vehicles for software that turns off emissions controls under certain circumstances.
This time, it's Mercedes-Benz's parent company Daimler under investigation. Germany's transportation minister met with Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche on Monday before announcing the recall. The Mercedes-Benz Vito commercial van, C220d sedan, and GLC220d vehicles sold in Europe are affected by the recall.
German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday that German transportation officials may have found up to five illegal emissions control devices on the vehicles, according to Reuters. Daimler hasn't contested the existence of the devices, but has argued that the devices may not be illegal.
Mercedes-Benz said it would cooperate with German authorities and order the recall
Our statement from today’s meeting between #Daimler and the Federal Ministry of Transport: Daimler confirms the recall. Open legal questions will be clarified in the objection proceedings. #Diesel pic.twitter.com/e3JJa1fkcD— Daimler AG (@Daimler) June 11, 2018
Many elements of the large-scale recall should sound familiar. After Volkswagen admitted to widespread emissions cheating in its cars sold in the U.S. and overseas, regulators and consumers have scrutinized automakers' claims of compliance and fuel consumption.
In January 2017, U.S. regulators ordered a stop-sale of several Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' diesel-powered models, including its Jeep Grand Cherokee, after regulators said it emitted more nitrogen oxide than allowed by law.
At the time of the allegations, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne struck a similar tone to Daimler; both automakers said the emissions control devices were legal. Marchionne's initial comments surrounding the disputed software centered around its inclusion to prolong the life of the engine, leading many to speculate that exhaust gas recirculation or temperature conditioning could be a culprit.
Zetsche or Daimler didn't say anything about what the company's software may be designed to do, but it's the second large fix for the automaker in as many years. Last year, Mercedes-Benz retrofitted roughly 3 million cars with modified emissions controls to bring those cars into compliance with Euro 5 and Euro 6 regulations.
Monday's announced recall covers cars built to Euro 6 compliance, which was adopted in 2014 and is more stringent.