Mercedes-Benz recalls 774,000 European vehicles for emissions defeat devices

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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.

A Daimler spokesman said he would not comment on the BamS story, adding, "We are cooperating to a full extent and transparently with the KBA and the federal transport ministry".

The authority said it suspected the emissions-control devices were being used in the bulk of Daimler's new diesel auto fleet that was built to comply with the latest Euro 6 emissions standards, encompassing some 1 million vehicles, according to the report.

Mercedes-Benz is caught up in an emissions scandal of its own. However, Germany's road vehicle authority, the KBA, has taken issue with the emission control features amid suspicion they allow vehicles to emit excess pollution without detection.

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The recall will involve updating the engine control software in Mercedes-Benz C-Class models, as well as its GLC crossover SUV (seen here) and Vito van, a model not sold in North America.

German recall affects 220d versions of C-class and GLC, as well as some Vito vans.

While the KBA can only request the recall of cars within German borders, the transport ministry said: "The government will order 238,000 Daimler vehicles to be immediately recalled Germany wide because of unauthorized defeat devices".

Six Mercedes-Benz models appeared in environmental lobby group Transport and Environment's 2016 "Dirty 50" list of diesel cars and SUVs, with the finger pointed at both thermal switches and another hot-restart software loophole.

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Mr Scheuer said that Daimler was willing to work "with co-operative transparency" with the government and "at maximum speed".

Daimler head of communications Jorg Howe confirmed the recall, but the company has not specifically admitted wrongdoing. "Open legal questions will be clarified in the objection proceedings".

Carmakers use software to manage exhaust emissions filtering and engine performance. VW was found to have so-called "cheat" devices installed in 11 million vehicles, which kept NOx levels low during laboratory tests but then switched off in normal driving.

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