Daimler AG, facing lawsuits that claim the automaker used a cheating defeat device as did Volkswagen, Friday announced that it had hired the prominent financial watchdog Deloitte Touche Tomahatsu to conduct an internal probe of those allegations. The investigators have been tasked to find documents and emails that may relate to the claims that the automaker has labeled baseless.
The investigation is part of a larger probe, launched by the U.S. Department of Justice, that is looking into the charges raised by class-action lawsuits that Daimler employed defeat devices in its diesel vehicles. The German newspaper Der Spiegel said that Daimler’s investigators were to look at two sites where cheating devices were reportedly used to turn off emission controls.
The specific sites named by the paper are the Daimler offices in Sindelfingen and Moehringen, near the manufacturer’s Stuttgart, Germany headquarters. The automaker said, in a statement, that there will be no investigators from regulators present. The investigators are collecting information on the method the automaker used to calculate emissions, said Jeorg Howe, a spokesman.
Daimler has been cooperating with the Justice Department since the agency initiated its request for an internal probe. The request from the federal agency follows a U.S. class-action site which says some Daimler vehicles violated emissions standards. Daimler AG has, of course, called the issues raised in the suit “baseless.”
Authorities have been looking closely at diesel emissions since the Dieselgate scandal broke last September. The self-inflicted Volkswagen scandal has dragged other automakers, whose inventories include a substantial proportion of diesel vehicles, into the regulatory spotlight. Indeed, Dieselgate has been the impetus for the suits that are now plaguing other automakers, including Mercedes-Benz.
Daimler diesels were pulled into the limelight by an Illinois Mercedes owner who filed a suit two months ago. The first suit was followed quickly by similar actions. The lawsuits claim that Mercedes-Benz clean diesel cars use devices the cause them to violate U.S. emissions levels when they are running at cooler temperatures.