The car manufacturer Daimler AG and the subsidiary Mercedes-Benz USA have agreed to pay 1.5 billion. Dollars to the U.S. government and California state authorities to resolve allegations that they are cheating on emissions tests, officials said Monday.
The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the California law firm said Daimler violated environmental laws by using so-called “defeat device software” to circumvent emission testing. Thus, the companies sold approx. 250,000 cars and vans between 2009 and 2016 with diesel engines that did not meet state and federal standards.
The settlement, which includes civil sanctions and is still awaiting court approval in Washington, will require Daimler to correct the vehicles already sold.
Daimler AG must repair at least 85% of the affected cars within two years and at least 85% of the affected vans within three years, Justice Department officials said. The company will also offer extended warranties to drivers on certain vehicle parts and perform emission tests on the repaired vehicles every year for the next five years.
“By demanding that Daimler pay a hefty penalty, fix its vehicles for free and offset the pollution they caused, today̵
A separate class action lawsuit would result in a one-time fee of about $ 700 million, Daimler AG said. In a statement, the company also said that the settlement of emissions claims means that Daimler does not assume any responsibility, nor will the company have to buy back any of the vehicles in question.
Daimler AG did not make clear how the vehicles would be cleared or whether it was accused of any misconduct such as Volkswagen, which paid $ 2.8 billion towhich occurred by cheating on emission tests. Fiat Chrysler is also reportedly under investigation .
VW admitted that it turned on pollution control when vehicles were tested in EPA laboratories, and then turned them off when the diesel vehicles were on the right roads. VW fooled the EPA for years before thatby a nonprofit and researchers at West Virginia University.
As part of Daimler AG’s settlement, California officials will receive $ 17.5 million for future environmental enforcement.
“Installing defeat unit software on your vehicles to mislead emissions regulators does not qualify to do more,” California Attorney Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “It just means you pay more in penalties once we catch you. And we will, because scammers really are not as smart as they think.”
Daimler AG’s pollution practices are also under investigation in Germany, where civil lawsuits claim that vehicles emit more pollutants than advertised.
In April 2016, the Department of Justice asked Daimler to conduct an internal probe in its exhaust emission certification process. The request came as the EPA began controlling all diesel engines after the VW scam was revealed.
Steve Berman, a Seattle lawyer who sued Daimler over Mercedes diesel pollution, said in 2016 that his firm hired a company to test Mercedes diesels on the right roads and found that they almost always spit out too much nitrogen oxide. out. Berman accused Mercedes of having software called a “defeat device” similar to VW.