The German transport ministry has ordered Mercedes-Benz to recall up to 774,000 cars across Europe after tests found that they contain unauthorised software, or a so-called defeat device, that could be used to manipulate diesel exhaust emissions.
In an official statement, the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) said it had ordered Mercedes to immediately recall selected Vito, C-Class and GLC models in Germany.
“The government will order 238,000 Daimler vehicles to be immediately recalled Germany wide because of unauthorised defeat devices,” the KBA said.
In the UK, Mercedes faces increasing pressure to recall the affected cars: “We are aware of the issue of ‘defeat devices’ in some Mercedes models and we are in communication with Mercedes-Benz UK about the matter. Mercedes have not yet notified us of an official recall so we are pressing them on this point and have given them until 22 June to respond,” said Ian Bartlett, head of DVSA’s vehicle safety branch and market surveillance unit.
Daimler is the parent company of Mercedes.
Among the models said to be affected are the 1.6-litre Vito 111 CDI and the 2.0-litre C220d and GLC 220d.
The KBA has not indicated the age of the cars involved, although officials suggest they include latest-generation models with Euro 6 emissions certification.
News of the recall comes after the German transport minister, Andreas Scheuer, met with Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche in Berlin to discuss what has been described as “irregularities in independent test results of various Mercedes-Benz models featuring the German car maker’s turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine”.