It is not every day you hear that an automotive titan has landed themselves in hot waters. At times there are recalls, other situations, but this time around, Mercedes-Benz has left many in shock.
According to reports, the German automotive subsidiary of Daimler AG Mercedes-Benz has been slapped with a fine. The reason behind the $1.5bn fine is because the brand was caught cheating in emissions tests.
Emissions tests are conducted to make sure vehicles are only producing a certain amount. It has become a protocol for all automotive manufacturers all around the globe.
However, the U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, and the California attorney general’s office said Daimler violated environmental laws. The department has claimed that the brand used a “defeat device software” to change the test results.
This occurred for the 250,000 vehicles (including cars and vans) that Mercedes-Benz had manufactured throughout 2009-2016. Mercedes-Benz USA has agreed to pay the fine, which includes civil penalties. The approval for Mercedes to fix the already sold cars as per the protocol is currently waiting for approval.
According to the settlement, the brand is responsible for fixing at least 85% of all sold cars within two years, and 85% affected vans within three years. Moreover, the company will be required to issue a warranty to the customers on certain vehicle parts. It will also be required to conduct emissions tests on the repaired vehicles each year for the next five years.
By requiring Daimler to pay a steep penalty, fix its vehicles free of charge, and offset the pollution they caused, today’s settlement again demonstrates our commitment to enforcing our nation’s environmental laws and protecting Americans from air pollution, –Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen
However, Daimler AG has said that the company does not admit any liability, nor will they purchase any of the in question. The brand has not issued any statement as to how it plans on taking action to clean the vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz is not the first automotive manufacturer to have been slapped a fine for cheating. Volkswagen was also accused of wrongdoing and had to pay $2.8 billion as a settlement in a criminal case for cheating emissions tests. On the other hand, Fiat Chrysler is also under investigation.
The state of California will also be receiving a payout of $17.5 million for future environmental projects by Daimler AG as a part of the settlement.
Installing defeat device software on your vehicles to deceive emissions regulators doesn’t qualify as doing more. It just means you’ll pay more in penalties once we catch you. And we will because cheaters really aren’t as smart as they think. -California Attorney General Xavier Becerra
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