Benz Korea to update emissions software

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Benz Korea to update emissions software

Mercedes-Benz will provide updates on faulty emission software in Korea, a follow-up measure after its headquarters in Germany announced on Tuesday the same plan for its customers in Europe. The plan to update the software is not a recall initiative but is intended to voluntarily improve emissions of Benz’s vehicles, the German carmaker noted.

“Daimler has decided to provide voluntary service actions for improving NOx emissions under real driving conditions by software update … in Europe … and this service action is extended to South Korea,” said the company’s Korean branch on Friday in a statement. “Approximately 100,000 units are eligible in Korea. New diesel engines, such as the OM654 built in the new E-Class, are not affected.”

Daimler Group in Germany rolled out a plan to voluntarily update the diesel engine software in its Euro 5 and Euro 6 models sold in Europe in order to improve nitrogen oxide emission levels. But the local unit here came under fire when Korea was not included in the initiative although over 100,000 vehicles sold in Korea were suspected of qualifying.

Some Korean media reported the measure as a recall, which is done when the authorities find faulty parts in vehicles. The company, however, said this is “neither a recall nor an order by the regulatory authorities to repair defective vehicles” but a voluntary service measure “to strengthen confidence in diesel technology.” A director at the transportation environment division of the Environment Ministry concurred that this is not a recall but an improvement measure.

The Korean branch of the German auto giant will submit a detailed plan to the Environment Ministry upon the ministry’s request. “We requested the Korean branch to confirm on the models qualified for update and whether they have been imported and sold in the Korean market,” said the director. “If subject to the plan, we asked [the Korean unit] to notify us of other details including how and when the update will take place by next Thursday.”

Daimler Group’s headquarters in Germany has been investigated since March by the local prosecutors on allegations of manipulating the emission control to cheat emission tests just as Volkswagen did in the past. Korea’s Environmental Ministry said it will conduct an inspection on the OM 642 and OM651 engines in question starting this August to see whether the company abided by the emission standards set by the government. The ministry says a total of 110,349 vehicles sold in Korea are mounted with the engines.

The German carmaker was ordered by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport earlier in the week to recall one of its high-end models due to a faulty part. The Transport Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that Mercedes’ high-performing sedan AMG E63 4MATIC will be recalled for defected oil supply line in the car’s engine turbo charger which could result in an oil leak.


BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]

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