Daimler, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, could soon be engulfed in the Dieselgate scandal and face billions in fresh fines and retrofitting charges, as US and German investigators delve deeper into the company’s alleged efforts to deceive emissions tests. Internal documents from the Stuttgart-based carmaker show that engineers were concerned about its diesel vehicles failing a stiff US auto emissions test known as PEMS, according to the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. Daimler’s diesel models, the paper said, exceeded permitted nitrogen oxide levels by a factor of 10.
“The authorities are aware of these documents and they have not led to indictments. The documents reported by the newspaper have clearly been deliberately leaked to damage Daimler and its 290,000 employees,” the company said in a brief statement Sunday, refusing to comment further.
The Dieselgate scandal first broke in September 2015, ensnaring Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen. The company has admitted to developing software that could detect when a car was undergoing emissions testing and adjust engine setting to produce far lower emissions. Once back on the road, the cars became illegal polluters. Once the practice leaked, investigators began looking at a parcel of other carmakers using similarly controversial methods to keep diesel cars on the market.