German prosecutors to search Daimler offices in diesel probe

German automaker Daimler AG says prosecutors will search several of its offices in Germany as part of a preliminary investigation into suspected manipulation of diesel emission controls.

The Stuttgart public prosecutor's office said 23 prosecutors and around 230 staff, including police and state criminal authorities, were involved in searching 11 sites in the German states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Berlin, Lower Saxony and Saxony on the lookout for data files and evidence.

Daimler didn't give any projections for its factory's potential capacity, but it did say that its investment would quadruple the size of an existing battery factory on the site, which is run by Accumotive, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler.

Germany's powerful automobile sector has been hard hit by revelations that vehicle giant Volkswagen fitted emissions cheating devices into 11 million diesel engines worldwide.

The company last week said earlier this month that more Mercedes were sold in March than ever before, with sales rising 14.8% to 228,296 to cap a best-ever quarter where 560,625 were ultimately shifted.

The raids are being conducted the wake of the diesel scandal surrounding German carmakers related to emission limits imposed by the European Union. Volkswagen has agreed to pay almost $25 billion in penalties, fines, legal fees and compensation for consumers.

Daimler had launched an internal investigation into its diesel models at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice a year ago, though authorities in Germany had not taken an interest in the matter until very recently.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said last week that it would modify the software on more than 100,000 diesel powered vehicles in the a bid to resolve allegations by US authorities that Fiat installed software on the vehicles that allowed them to pass emissions test but exceed USA emissions limits during normal road driving.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the USA probe could eventually cost Fiat more than $4 billion in penalties, depending on how the investigation unfolds.

It added "known and unknown employees" were being sought over suspicion of fraud and misleading advertising.

The company warned in April that USA authorities could determine that its emissions control system used an illegal defeat device to suppress emissions as defined by US law.

  • Zachary Reyes