A handful of German automakers, including Volkswagen AG and its Audi and Porsche division, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz unit and General Motors Co.’s Opel will recall 630,000 cars to fix diesel models’ emissions systems’ temperature setups, Bild newspaper reported, citing an unidentified German government representative.
The recall is meant to fix a device designed to turn off emissions controls at certain temperatures, Bild said.
Transport minister Alexander Dobrindt is scheduled to reveal the findings of regulatory tests of cars’ diesel engines later Friday. Ministry spokeswoman Svenja Friedrich declined to comment when asked about the nature of Dobrindt’s planned announcement.
The German probe across a broad range of manufacturers and models was prompted by Volkswagen’s revelations in September that it had installed software on diesel motors designed to cheat on official emissions test. The German investigation showed no other models with illegal software, Bild reported.
Daimler is among carmakers that have acknowledged the existence of a component that turns off controls at low temperatures, saying it’s legal and designed to protect the engine. Joerg Howe, a spokesman for the carmaker, declined to comment on any recall. Nico Schmidt, a spokesman for Opel, also declined to comment.
“The question is whether this number is just the start, or if there’ll be more,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany. “What’s clear is that there are legal tricks the whole industry is using. That might be legal, but it’s not a legitimate thing to do, and shines a negative light on the industry as a whole. This isn’t a good sign.”
By Elisabeth Behrmann