Mercedes-Benz caught foul of Clean Air Act

Failing to notify the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) about defects in the air pollution controls installed on numerous 1998 to 2006 Mercedes model vehicles has resulted in Mercedes-Benz USA and DaimlerChrysler AG having to pay $1.2 million in civil penalties. This was a violation of the Clean Air Act as auto manufacturers are required to promptly inform the EPA of defects in emission-related components so that the government can consider whether the defect will cause emission standards to be exceeded and whether a recall is necessary.

Since the EPA's investigation into the allegations commenced, Mercedes began voluntary recalls for two of the defects at issue and notified owners that it would extend the warranty coverage to address a third defect, at an estimated cost of about $59 million. The vehicles subject to the voluntary recalls and extended warranties have defective catalytic converters or defective air pumps. The voluntary recalls and extended warranty are expected to reduce the emissions of harmful pollutants, including nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHC), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO), by over 500 tons cumulatively.

[Source: DaimlerChrysler]

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