From MPG figures to NOx emissions, in the last 12 months, it has become clear that a number of car manufacturers have been exaggerating or manipulating some important stats of their diesel vehicles.
Each relevant manufacturer has dealt with this in their own unique way. The Volkswagen group were publicly called out and shamed for what the media described as ‘cheat devices’ fitted to their cars. There is currently an ongoing investigation into the PSA group, (Peugeot, Citroen, DS and Vauxhall) but that has fallen quiet since the end of April.
Put simply, it looks as though this could be an industry wide issue, as various (but not all) manufacturers have been taking shortcuts in this segment at a time where Diesel cars are coming under more scrutiny than ever before.
Interestingly, Mercedes seem to have done the honest thing for the benefit of their customers, the general public and (most importantly) the environment. Mercedes have announced a ‘voluntary recall’ on all Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel cars that they sold between January 2011 and September 2015.
Mercedes aren't happy with the efficiency of their cars out on the roads, so instead of waiting to be investigated or pretending the issue doesn’t exist, they are being proactive about fixing any issues in the most convenient manner for their customers.
What exactly is the issue?
Well, apparently the recall (which isn’t technically a recall) doesn’t involve any equipment being added or removed from the cars, there’s nothing physically wrong. The problem involves the onboard software which isn’t performing to the best of its ability.
A spokesman from Mercedes-Benz put it best: “This is not a recall – something required of Mercedes-Benz by the government and the DVSA – but a pro-active measure to ensure our diesel vehicles are as clean as they can be.
“Mercedes-Benz constantly upgrades its engines and it became apparent that there were improvements in the NOx emissions levels that we could make through a simple software update. That’s what we’re doing, not because we have to, but because we can.
“It’s part of a strategy that we hope will ensure diesel continues to be perceived as a clean fuel that has a long future ahead of it.
“I can’t say conclusively at this stage how many UK vehicles are affected but will be in excess of several hundred thousand”
Are Mercedes leading the way?
Potentially, yes. It’s no secret that various manufacturers have struggled to keep their diesel cars as clean as possible, but Mercedes have proven that a simple software update can be all that is needed to bring the car up to speed. Offering this service free of charge and at the owner’s convenience is something to appreciate and, hopefully, something the rest of the industry can emulate.
This is all a refreshing show of understanding from a premium manufacturer who will be spending near-enough £200million on making sure their cars are all performing to their best. An expensive decision that they weren’t forced to make. Bravo, Mercedes - or perhaps ‘gut gemacht!’