German Automakers Agree to 630,000-Car Recall Over Emissions

U.S. Investigating Daimler Diesel-Engine Emissions
  • Audi, Mercedes, Opel, Porsche, VW to recall cars Europewide
  • Voluntary recall to fix temperature-control emission setups

Volkswagen AG’s namesake brand, its Audi and Porsche divisions, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz unit and General Motors Co.’s Opel agreed with German authorities to recall 630,000 cars Europewide to fix temperature-control setups on diesel models’ emissions systems.

The voluntary move affects diesel cars with engines that meet the Euro-5 and later Euro-6 standards, German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said Friday at a Berlin press conference. Terms for dealing with any models built by carmakers outside Germany will have to be agreed on with regulators that certify those vehicles, he said.

The recall is meant to fix a device that turns off emissions controls at particular temperatures as a means to protect the engine. A German probe of 53 models that tested them in the laboratories and on the road found that temperature thresholds at which the controls shut down weren’t justified, Dobrindt said.

The regulatory investigation was prompted by Volkswagen’s revelations in September that it had installed software on diesel motors designed to cheat on official emissions checks. None of the models tested were found to use illegal devices designed to defeat the tests, the minister said.

Daimler said in a statement that it will upgrade emissions controls systems on 247,000 cars, reiterating that it hasn’t violated any regulations. The OM 607-model diesel engine affected is built in cooperation with French carmaker Renault SA and primarily used in compact cars, the German company said. Audi said it will fix 65,700 manual-transmission diesel cars, including models from its Q5 sport utility vehicle and A6 and A8 sedan lines.

Opel had already announced the recalls earlier, and about 90,000 autos are affected, said Alexander Bazio, a spokesman at the GM unit.

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