Some 20 months after Volkswagen shocked the world with its manipulation of emissions tests and diesel engines, German prosecutors have widened their probe into rival Daimler, maker of Mercedes cars and trucks.
Around 230 police officers and 23 prosecutors’ representatives searched 11 Daimler locations in Germany. According to Handelsblatt information, raids also took place at the carmaker’s Stuttgart headquarters. “(There is) a suspicion of fraud and false advertising in relation to the manipulation of exhaust treatment in diesel passenger cars,” the Stuttgart prosecutors’ office said Tuesday.
The carmaker confirmed the searches, but declined to comment further. In March, when an initial investigation became public, Daimler rejected the accusations.
Then, officials had found evidence that several Daimler employees may have engaged in fraud and false advertising related to diesel engines. Board members are not among the suspects, sources familiar with Daimler said.
Following an investigation by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority last year, German and foreign carmakers, including Mercedes, Opel and France’s Renault, agreed to recall at least 630,000 diesel vehicles across Europe. None of the carmakers illegally manipulated diesel engines as Volkswagen did, but used a loophole that increased pollution.
The recall affected around 247,000 Mercedes-Benz cars, as well as Porsche, VW, Audi and Opel vehicles, among others, Handelsblatt learned last year from people familiar with the matter.