Daimler accused of selling over one million cars with excess emissions: newspaper

BERLIN (Reuters) - German carmaker Daimler DAIGn.DE has been accused of selling over a million cars with excessive emissions in Europe and the United States, Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said on Wednesday, citing a search warrant issued by a Stuttgart court.

The Daimler AG sign with raindrops is pictured before the company's annual news conference in Stuttgart, Germany, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle/File Photo

Two months ago Stuttgart prosecutors searched Daimler sites in Germany following allegations of false advertising and the possible wrongful manipulation of exhaust gas treatment systems in diesel cars.

The Stuttgart local court’s search warrant triggered the searches on May 23, Sueddeutsche Zeitung said.

According to that document, more than 1 million cars with excessive emissions, including various luxury Mercedes-Benz models, were sold in Europe and the United States between 2008 and 2016, said Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which researched the matter with regional broadcasters WDR and NDR.

A spokesman for Stuttgart-based Daimler declined to comment on the continuing investigation by local prosecutors, adding the carmaker was fully cooperating with the authorities.

The cars in question are powered by engines codenamed OM 642 and OM 651, with prosecutors examining the possible use of defeat devices to manipulate emission levels during tests, the newspaper said.

There is a risk that the vehicles affected in Europe could be banned in the region, the newspaper said, again citing the search warrant.

The Daimler spokesman declined to comment on the report, describing it as “speculation”, apart from saying the company did not see any danger of its cars being banned.

A spokesman for Stuttgart prosecutors declined to comment while Germany’s transport ministry couldn’t be reached for comment.

Carmakers across the globe have faced increased regulatory scrutiny over anti-pollution tests since Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE admitted in September 2015 that it had installed secret software in its diesel cars in the United States to cheat nitrogen oxide emission tests.

Reporting by Andreas Cremer, Ilona Wissenbach and Birgit Mittwollen; Editing by Greg Mahlich