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Daimler to pay $2 billion to settle US diesel emissions from Mercedes cars

  • August 14, 2020

German carmaker Daimler on Thursday said it had “reached an agreement in principle” with the US authorities to settle civil and environmental claims over emissions violations.

Under the terms of the deal, Daimler will pay $1.5 billion (€1.27 billion) to US authorities, plus another $700 million to settle a consumer class lawsuit. The Stuttgart-based company, which owns the Mercedes brand, said that “further expenses of a mid three-digit-million” euros would be needed to fulfill requirements of the settlements.

Read more: Germany’s carmakers in for a bumpy ride ahead

The ‘dieselgate’ scandal

The legal dispute stems from exhaust emissions in around 250,000 Daimler diesel cars and vans that had prompted action from California state environmental and judicial authorities, the US Department of Justice and Customs enforcement.

The settlements had already been backed by the Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG supervisory boards, but were awaiting approval from US authorities.

Like other carmakers caught up in the “dieselgate” scandal, Daimler was accused of hiding the fact that it used illegal software in its diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests, thereby advertising better emissions than the vehicles actually produced.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    The disaster unfolds — September 2015

    About two weeks after Volkswagen admitted behind closed doors to US environmental regulators that it had installed cheating software in some 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide, the Environmental Protection Agency shared that information with the public. It was September 18, 2015. The ensuing crisis would eventually take a few unexpected turns.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    The boss must go, long live the boss — September 2015

    Volkswagen’s then-CEO Martin Winterkorn (above) had little choice but to step down several days after news of the scandal broke. In September 2015, he tendered his resignation, but retained his other posts within the Volkswagen Group. Winterkorn’s successor was Matthias Müller. Until taking the reins at VW, Müller had been the chairman at Porsche, a VW subsidiary.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Raiding headquarters — October 2015

    Regulators in the US weren’t the only ones investigating VW. Authorities in Lower Saxony, the German state in which VW is based, were also scrutinizing the company. On October 8 2015, state prosecutors raided VW’s headquarters along with several other corporate locations.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Hell breaks loose — January 2016

    On January 4, 2016, the US government filed a lawsuit against VW in Detroit, accusing the German automaker of fraud and violations of American climate protection regulations. The lawsuit sought up to $46 billion for violations of the Clean Air Act.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Quit or forced out? — March 2016

    In March 2016, the head of VW in the US, Michael Horn, resigned. In the initial days and weeks after the scandal broke, he was the one US authorities turned to for information. He issued an official apology on behalf of the automaker, asking for the public’s forgiveness.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Settlement — October 2016

    On October 25 2016, a US judge approved a final settlement that would have VW pay $15.3 billion. In addition, affected cars would be retrofitted with better, non-deceptive hardware and software, or else VW would buy them back completely from customers.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Imitators — July 2017

    When dieselgate first emerged in 2015, analysts said it was likely other car makers were also cheating tests. But it wasn’t until 2017 that other companies were targeted in probes. In July, German authorities launched investigations into luxury car makers Porsche and Daimler for allegedly cheating emissions tests. Others, such as Audi and Chrysler, have also been hit by similar allegations.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Public still supportive — December 2017

    Despite dieselgate, VW has managed to keep the emissions scandal from utterly tarnishing its image. According to several polls, between 55 to 67 percent of Germans continue to trust the automaker. In the US, polls show that roughly 50 percent still believe the German company produces worthwhile vehicles.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Fuming over monkeys — January 2018

    In late January, however, VW suffered another heavy blow over reports that the company experimented on monkeys and made the animals inhale diesel fumes. To make matters worse, a separate experiment that had humans inhale relatively harmless nitrogen dioxide was revealed at the same time. Some media wrongly interpreted this to mean humans were also inhaling toxic fumes.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Canadian court demands millions — January 2020

    Years after the scandal that caused Volkswagen to pay CAN$2.4 billion (US$1.83 billion), a court in Toronto order a further fine of CAN$196.5 million. Volkswagen pleaded guilty of violating in environmental laws. Prosecutor Tom Lemon noted that the fine was “26 times the highest fine ever for a Canadian environmental offence.”

    Author: Dirk Kaufmann, Elliot Douglas


dr/dj  (AFP, Reuters, AP)

Article source: https://www.dw.com/en/daimler-to-pay-2-billion-to-settle-us-diesel-emissions-from-mercedes-cars/a-54560745?maca=en-rss-en-bus-2091-xml-atom

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