European carmaker Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, has been accused of having used illegal defeat devices in its engines. The German Transport Ministry said that according to its estimations, 774,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Europe contained the unauthorized software defeat devices and ordered Daimler to recall more than 200,000 cars in Germany, Reuters reports.
The main models at fault were Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Vito with diesel engines, as well as a sports utility variant of the sedan, known as the GLC, according to the ministry.
However, experts say that there is no evidence that Daimler was designing software to deliberately cheat on emissions testing, and that the recall means that the carmaker would be able to avoid a fine from authorities.
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said that the company had found a solution for updating the software on its vehicles, and that this way the company would avoid being fined. Daimler also said that the question over the legality of the software would still need to be clarified.
“The government will order 238,000 Daimler vehicles to be immediately recalled Germany-wide because of unauthorized defeat devices,” the ministry said.
Germany can only order the recall of vehicles within its own borders, or of those vehicles issued with a pan-European road-worthiness certification via German authorities.
The ministry said that Daimler has pledged to work on removing the software and cooperate with authorities.