December 22, 2006

Mercedes-Benz pays US$1.2 million for Clean Air Act violation

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that Mercedes-Benz will pay US$1.2 million in civil penalties to resolve its failure to promptly notify the EPA about air pollution control defects on a number of 1998-2006 model-year vehicles. The automaker must also improve its emissions defect investigation and reporting system to ensure future compliance, at an estimated cost of approximately US$1 million per year.

After the EPA initiated its investigation, Mercedes commenced voluntary recalls for two of the defects, and notified owners that it would extend warranty coverage to address a third defect. The cost of the recalls and warranty are estimated at US$59 million.

“These defect reporting requirements are a critical part of EPA’s program to reduce air pollution by ensuring that vehicles on the road comply with the Clean Air Act’s emissions standards,” says Catherine McCabe, principal duty assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

The Clean Air Act requires an auto manufacturer to file a defect information report with EPA not more than 15 working days after an emission-related defect is found to affect 25 or more vehicles, so that EPA may consider whether the defect will cause emission standards to be exceeded, and whether a recall is necessary. The Mercedes-Benz vehicles subject to the voluntary recalls and extended warranties may have defective catalytic converters or defective air pumps.

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