Daimler, parent company of Mercedes, is recalling more than three million of its cars in Europe to add software which will reduce emissions - a process the brand hopes will “strengthen confidence” for customers.
The brand, which has recently denied allegations in Germany that it has been cheating emission tests, said its service action provides customers with the option to have new software for cars running with the OM 607 turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, which is used in Mercedes A-Class, B-Class, CLA and GLA models, to lower their output of nitrogen oxide.
Also affected are the engines codenamed OM 651 and OM 642 - the former being 2.0-litre and 2.2-litre diesel four-cylinder units, and the latter being Mercedes' 3.0-litre diesel V6. OM 651 is found in cars including the B-Class, C-Class and E-Class, while OM 642 is used in larger cars, such as the E-Class, S-Class and now GLE-badged M-Class.
The OM 607 engine was co-developed by Renault and is also used in some of its models, badged 1.5 dCi. Autocar is awaiting a response from the French brand to confirm the status of those cars, but it is used in the brand's B- and C-segment cars, such as the Clio, Captur, Mégane, Scenic and Kadjar. It's also used in the Nissan Juke, Micra and Qashqai as part of the Renault-Nissan alliance under the same name.
Nissan released the following statement: “Nissan is of course committed to upholding the law and meeting or exceeding regulations in every market where we operate. All our vehicles sold in Europe meet the Euro 5/6 emission standards. Nissan strongly supports New Real Driving Emissions standards, which will set a maximum level of pollutant emissions in real life conditions.”
This three million cars includes several hundred thousand cars in the UK, according to Autocar data, although an exact figure is still being ascertained by Mercedes-Benz UK.
Daimler said its process, due to cost about €220 million (£195m), is being “carried out in close cooperation with the German regulatory authorities” and allows engineers to add newer, more effective technology to the existing EU5 and EU6 engines. The process will take about one hour per car, with the first cars receiving updates in the coming weeks. The final cars are predicted to be completed late in 2018.
The latest emissions fix plan expands a process that has seen the issuing of new software for a quarter-of-a-million compact Mercedes models since March, of which 45% of affected cars have already received the change. The brand has also carried out a voluntary service action for the V-Class van, where 75% of customer vehicles have been worked on.
Daimler said it also plans to commence the "rapid" rollout of a new diesel engine family that will be more efficient and cleaner than the current range.
The brand's diesel technology was called into question last week when German transport ministry officials met with Daimler representatives, including head of technology development Ola Källenius, to discuss accusations that it has used software to improve the results of its diesel models in emissions tests.
Daimler responded in an official statement, saying: "On the basis of our current information, we would fight any claim by the German Transport Safety Authority that we installed an illegal emissions control device with all legal means available."