German luxury carmaker Daimler AG said on Tuesday that it will expand its current “service action” for European owners of its Mercedes-Benz compact-class and V-class vans to include more than 3 million Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The company said in a statement that it is investing about €220 million in the recall and that customers will not be charged for the service.
So far the recall has involved about 274,000 compact cars and an unspecified number of vans.
Daimler last week attended a meeting with German officials following revelations that two of the company’s diesel engines were being investigated for possible emissions testing cheating. A German analyst told Bloomberg News that the voluntary recall was an attempt to get out in front of the issue and that the expected cost is “extraordinarily low” and could likely rise.
Since Volkswagen used software to cheat on emissions testing in the U.S. in 2015, the European Union has come down hard on marketing claims by automakers about “clean” diesel.
Daimler’s chairman, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, said:
The public debate about diesel engines is creating uncertainty – especially for our customers. We have therefore decided on additional measures to reassure drivers of diesel cars and to strengthen confidence in diesel technology. We are convinced that diesel engines will continue to be a fixed element of the drive-system mix, not least due to their low CO2 emissions.
The company will begin implementing the recall next week for what Daimler said will be “nearly all” Mercedes-Benz diesel models that are required to meet the European Union’s EU-5 and EU-6 emissions standards.
Daimler said the company has already proved that it can meet the tighter EU regulations with a new diesel engine that first appeared in the 2016 E-class. Daimler said the company plans to propagate that engine design “across the entire model portfolio.” According to the company, diesel engines will be around “for a long time yet” because they are significantly more efficient than gasoline engines.