The Mercedes-Benz star is displayed on the front of a Mercedes-Benz vehicle at the annual news conference of German auto giant Daimler AG in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, on February 1, 2018.
KBA assumes the devices were meant to help a broad majority of Daimler's new diesel cars pass recently introduced Euro 6 emissions standards.
A spokesman for the company declined to comment on specifics regarding the case, but said: "We are cooperating to a full extent and transparently with the KBA and the federal transport ministry". The Mercedes-Benz Vito commercial van, C220d sedan, and GLC220d vehicles sold in Europe are affected by the recall.
While the KBA can only request the recall of cars within German borders, the transport ministry said: "The government will order 238,000 Daimler vehicles to be immediately recalled Germany wide because of unauthorized defeat devices".
Mercedes-Benz said it had developed a technical solution that would enable it to update the software, and Zetsche suggests the move could see the company avoid possible fines by the European Union.
"In addition, Daimler explains that with maximum processing speed and in cooperative transparency with the authorities, the applications in the engine control system objected to by the federal government are eliminated", Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said in a statement.
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Diesels have been under heavy scrutiny since USA authorities caught Volkswagen using illegal engine control software that turned off diesel emission controls in everyday driving.
Zetsche or Daimler didn't say anything about what the company's software may be created to do, but it's the second large fix for the automaker in as many years.
At the time of the allegations, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne struck a similar tone to Daimler; both automakers said the emissions control devices were legal.
This is specifically linked to two functions of the engine control in Mercedes-Benz Vito vans.
According to specialist Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst with Evercore ISI in London, the recall will cost the automaker less than $120 million.