Daimler will pay $1.5 billion to settle a U.S. probe into diesel emission violations.
In 2019, Daimler — parent company to Mercedes-Benz — agreed to pay a 870 million Euro ($1.03 billion) fine in Germany for violating diesel emissions regulations. This Tuesday, a U.S. federal judge approved Daimler AG’s $1.5 billion settlement that will resolve a U.S. government probe into diesel pollution from 250,000 Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles. Part of the settlement requires Daimler to pay the state of California $285.6 million.
After more than three years of talks, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan called the California settlement “fair, reasonable and in the public interest.”
Court papers show that, back in September 2020, the settlement includes an $875 million civil penalty levied under the Clean Air Act. On top of that, an additional $546 million to fix the polluting vehicles and address excess emissions. Daimler also agreed, with the court’s preliminary approval, to compensate owners to the tune of $700 million. Final approval for that action is expected this summer, according to a lawyer representing the owner class.
Steve Berman, a lawyer representing the owners, has set up a website for owners to see if their vehicle is part of the settlement.
Volkswagen and FCA/Stellantis are among other automakers that have paid billions of dollars to settle diesel emission violations. In a securities filing last week, Stellantis that it is in talks to resolve an ongoing U.S. Justice Department criminal probe. They have set aside $238 million to address the issue.
Automakers have moved away from selling diesel vehicles in the United States ever since Volkswagen’s infamous “Dieselgate” debacle. In the past few years, many of these (and other) automakers have invested heavily into battery electric vehicles. In cases like Volkswagen, their heavy investment into EVs is partially a direct result of their previous emissions settlements.
There may be more settlements from Daimler and other automakers in the near future. We will keep you posted.