Daimler faces emissions fraud investigations and challenge over use of the EQ name

23 March 2017

23 March 2017

In the latest instalment in the diesel emissions cheating scandal, the public prosecutor’s office in Germany has extended their investigations to Daimler, parent of the Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands. The investigation is focused on employees who are suspected of fraud and misleading advertising claims.

′We are investigating known and unknown employees at Daimler,’ said the public prosecutor in Stuttgart, Germany. Daimler is fully cooperating but has reiterated that Germany’s Transport Ministry and Vehicle Type Approval authority had conducted emissions tests on its cars and had found no violations.

Daimler is following in the footsteps of BMW and Volkswagen by introducing a sub-brand, EQ, for electric vehicles (EV) and this investigation may yet accelerate the carmaker’s EV strategy. The first EQ concept car, named the EQC, has just been unveiled and is expected to go on sale in 2019. The model will be underpinned by a platform that has been developed specifically for EVs, echoing the plans of Volkswagen and Renault for example.

In another blow for Daimler, leading Chinese OEM Chery is contesting the rights to the EQ name. Chery has filed a complaint with the trademark regulator in China as it has used the eQ name for its own EV for two years. This may only lead to Daimler being unable to use the EQ sub-brand name in China but that is of course the largest EV market in the world.

However, Daimler has sought trademarks for other specific model names beyond the EQC, including EQA, EQE and EQS. These EVs would correspond with their core models in respective segments in the same way that their SUV models do, such as the GLA, GLC and GLE. If Mercedes intends to only use these specific model names and not promote EQ as a brand in its own right in China, Chery may have less grounds on which to contest, but for now the challenge stands.

Photograph courtesy of Daimler