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Daimler's diesel woes deepen amid van probe, outside scrutiny

by Byron Hurd

Germany sets a deadline for van fix; Stuttgart cooperates with international authorities.

Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche faced German regulators Monday as the company's ongoing defense of its over-polluting diesel-powered vehicles appears poised to be stymied by European authorities.

At the center of the latest developments is the tiny Vito delivery van, of which more than 6,000 the government has ordered Daimler to recall to address alleged emissions cheating. German transport minister Andreas Scheuer informed Zetsche and his staff Monday that Daimler has until June 15 to produce a solution to the Vito issue, the Associated Press reports (via CNBC).

According to Reuters, German legal authorities are also cooperating with foreign governments. The Stuttgart prosecutor's office confirmed Monday that it is cooperating with French authorities, Reuters reports. The engine in the Vito is supplied by French automaker Renault.

In the meantime, many European cities have announced plans to either partially or wholly ban diesel-powered vehicles from their urban centers. Daimler is even facing this issue on home turf, as Hamburg--Germany's second-largest city--plans to enforce diesel bans starting only days from now.

Daimler is only one of several companies whose products have been implicated in the ongoing diesel emissions scandal that has plagued (mostly European) automakers since Volkswagen was called out by U.S. authorities more than two years ago.