By paying the equivalent of more than € 1.9 billion, Daimler wants to settle a dispute with authorities and customers over alleged violations of US emissions regulations. According to two comparisons, the carmaker has launched an investigation into the American authorities, as well as a number of lawsuits against car owners, as announced by the Ministry of Justice and the group on Monday. Daimler and its subsidiary Mercedes-Benz USA have been charged with excessive emissions of approximately 250,000 diesel vehicles.
The settlement sends a “clear message” to carmakers that the US government is strict on complying with emission standards, EPA chief Andrew Wheeler told a news conference in Washington. Daimler did not disclose questionable emissions control software to the authorities. According to his own statements, the Department of Justice imposed a $ 875 million civil law fine, and the agreement would cost Daimler about $ 1.5 billion.
The group itself announced in August that it had reached an agreement on legal conflicts not only with the authorities, but also with private plaintiffs in the USA. Daimler also provided details on Monday. According to that, about $ 700 million will be caused by the settlement of class actions by car owners in the United States, bringing the legal exemption in the United States to more than $ 2 billion.
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Whether the functions used in vehicles are “jamming devices”, ie inadmissible tripping devices for emission control, is not determined by comparison, Daimler emphasized. “The settlement agreements expressly state that the company denies the allegations made by the authorities as well as the claims of the class action plaintiffs and accepts no liability to the United States, California, the plaintiffs or in any other way.”
The applicants’ lawyers were a success. “Owners of dirty diesel Mercedes will finally get the compensation they deserve,” said Steve Berman. A well-known American lawyer heads the main law firm Hagens Berman, which has already caused problems for many other companies, including VW in the “Dieselgate” affair or General Motors in a scandal with faulty ignition locks. According to his company, the Mercedes owners concerned may receive compensation of USD 3,290 or more through compensation.
Daimler has always denied allegations of targeted manipulation
Since 2016, Daimler has been the target of the US judiciary for allegedly fused values for emissions of polluting nitrogen oxides. The group has always rejected targeted manipulation of exhaust technology using fraudulent software, which has been used at Volkswagen (VW) for years. Unlike the Wolfsburg-based company, which admitted large-scale exhaust fraud under pressure from US authorities in 2015, Daimler does not admit guilt in the comparison and does not have to buy vehicles from customers or be monitored by a watchdog from the US authorities in the future.
To this end, Daimler must improve cars through software updates, as in Europe, and there are other environmental measures that the company is demanding. In addition to the amounts set out in the comparison, Daimler expects half-digit million costs to implement the agreement.
However, Daimler cannot completely eliminate the problem yet. The settlement has yet to be approved by a US court and only the civil proceedings end, so further criminal consequences cannot be ruled out. Since the massive violation of the law on air pollution control by VW, the American environmental authorities have insisted on compliance with emission standards and have also demanded a costly agreement from the Italian-American car manufacturer Fiat Chrysler. U.S. class lawsuits for alleged exhaust handling also await several other carmakers. (DPA)