Benz issues software fix for Europe; Korea waits

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Benz issues software fix for Europe; Korea waits

Daimler Group said Tuesday that it would voluntarily update its diesel engine software in three million Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Europe amid mounting speculation that the German auto giant manipulated the exhaust control of its cars in order to fake emissions levels.

Its Korean unit, however, said it does not have plans to do the same here, even though some 110,000 Mercedes-Benz cars are suspected to have been imported to Korea with the faulty emissions software.

“Such a decision is made on the global level,” a Mercedes-Benz Korea spokesman said Wednesday.

Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz based in Stuttgart, Germany, issued a statement on Tuesday saying its management board approved the company’s measures to improve nitrogen oxide emissions levels in its Euro 5 and Euro 6 models in Europe. The company will spend some 220 million euros ($250 million) to provide the free service.

“The public debate about diesel engines is creating uncertainty - especially for our customers,” Dieter Zetche, chairman of the board at Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz, said in a statement. “We have therefore decided on additional measures to reassure drivers of diesel cars and to strengthen confidence in diesel technology.”

The latest update is part of a string of software changes the German carmaker has been rolling out for its compact cars and vans. The announcement to expand the free service comes as Daimler is being scrutinized by German authorities for having cheated on emissions tests by installing faulty software in its diesel engines just like as Volkswagen did in 2015.

VW ended up paying more than $22 billion to settle the issue in the United States.

Korea’s Ministry of Environment said Tuesday that 110,348 Benz vehicles in the country are equipped with the OM642 and OM651 engines in question. They are installed in some of Mercedes-Benz’s best-selling models like the E-Class and C-Class sedans.

“The Ministry of Environment will cooperate with German authorities to monitor Benz vehicles, and if more details come up, we will start an investigation,” an official from the ministry said.

The automaker has not decided whether to roll out the software update in the United States either.

Mercedes-Benz Korea was the top car importer last year by sales and has continued to maintain its position this year. In June, it sold 7,783 cars in Korea, a record-breaking monthly sales figure in the local import market.


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