Daimler strikes $2.2 bn diesel settlements in US

(L to R) Dieter Zetsche, chairman of German car maker Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz cars, Matthias Mueller, CEO of German car maker Volkswagen attend a press conference after the so-called diesel summit on August 2, 2017 in Berlin. – German government officials and automakers meet to discuss the future of diesel vehicles, after a nearly two-year saga of scandal spread from Volkswagen to others in the sector. (Photo by AXEL SCHMIDT / AFP)

BERLINGermany (AFP) — Daimler has approved settlements worth $2.2 billion over emissions cheating software in its diesel vehicles in the US, the German carmaker said Thursday.

The company has “reached an agreement in principle with various US authorities to settle civil and environmental claims regarding emission control systems of approximately 250,000 diesel passenger cars and vans in the United States,” it said in a statement.

The agreement includes $1.5 billion to be paid to US authorities, plus $700 million to settle a consumer class action lawsuit.

The management and supervisory boards have approved the proposed settlements, which now need to be given the go-ahead by the relevant authorities and courts, the company said.

The US authorities involved are the Department of Justice, Customs and Border Protection, and authorities in California, where the first complaints were filed.

The logo of Daimler pictured during the company’s results press conference on February 14, 2008 in the southern German city of Stuttgart. (Photo by OLIVIER MORIN / AFP)

Daimler stands accused of hiding the fact that it was using illegal software in diesel cars to cheat emissions tests.

Cars involved in the so-called “dieselgate” scandal, which began with Volkswagen in 2015, had engines fitted with software that made them emit fewer harmful pollutants in the lab when they were undergoing tests than on the road.

The scandal has cost VW, the world’s biggest automaker with a dozen brands, more than 30 billion euros ($34 billion), for the most part in the United States.

(R-L) Ola Kaellenius, CEO of Daimler AG, Harald Wilhelm, CFO of Daimler AG and Martin Daum, member of the executive board and CEO of Daimler Trucks AG attend the company’s annual press conference in Stuttgart, southern Germany, on February 11, 2020. – Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler reported plunging profits for 2019, after setting aside billions of euros to deal with potential fallout from the industry-wide “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal. (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP)

Total charges of 5.5 billion euros from dieselgate and a mass recall of vehicles fitted with faulty airbags from supplier Takata contributed to Daimler’s net earnings slumping by 64 percent to 2.7 billion euros ($2.9 billion) last year.

Daimler said the settlements would have an impact on its cash flow for three years, including the next 12 months, but said it had made sufficient provisions to meet the costs.