Daimler AG executives were called to a German government committee looking into possible diesel-emissions cheating following a Sueddeutsche Zeitung report that prosecutors are focusing attention on two engines that power its popular Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicles.
Representatives of the carmaker were invited to a special session of the committee on Thursday afternoon, the German transport ministry said in an email.
Authorities across Europe are putting car manufacturers under scrutiny after Volkswagen revealed in September 2015 that it installed software in its autos’ diesel engines to bypass pollution rules. Prosecutors and police raided Daimler sites throughout Germany in May. A person familiar with the document said Thursday that the warrant authorizing the search said two diesel engines used in Daimler cars were equipped with so-called defeat devices that would reduce emissions controls. The documents cited the Mercedes GLK 250 and GL 350 SUVs from 2015 as carrying these engines.
The probe of possible fraud and false advertising at Stuttgart-based Daimler, started in March, has identified two technicians at the manufacturer who are suspected to have worked with software that controls the engines’ exhaust, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The warrant doesn’t specify the number of vehicles affected, the person said.
Jan Holzner, a spokesman at the Stuttgart prosecutors office, declined to comment on the warrant’s details, but said information about the document published in Sueddeutsche Zeitung can’t be interpreted as the probe being widened. He confirmed that two people are being investigated. Prosecutors haven’t yet started to review the bulk of the material seized as Daimler has filed several court suits against the searches.
Daimler reiterated earlier Thursday that it’s cooperating fully with the investigation said Joerg Howe, a spokesman, declining to comment further.