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Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche has reiterated the company’s claim that it never used illegal “defeat devices” to pass emissions regulations, adding that the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal is “a blow to the German auto industry,” according to Detroit News.

The 62-year-old executive told the Economic Club of Washington DC that Mercedes-Benz has never circumvented emissions regulations using software “and we never will.” He also said that he was surprised by Volkswagen admission of manipulation, and that the public may have assumed initially that if one company cheated, everyone else has probably done so too.

“I think a strength of ‘Made in Germany’ and of the German auto industry is a perception that these are reliable brands and you can trust them and this is a blow to our industry,” Zetsche said. “It’s up to us to rebuild that trust because we haven’t done anything wrong.”

However, Zetsche denied that the scandal – which is said to have affected as many as 11 million Volkswagen vehicles worldwide – has caused a decline in sales of Mercedes-Benz cars, but noted that it will take time for VW itself to recover from the controversy.

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The United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that it has found no evidence of cheating by any other automaker except VW, after testing all diesel-powered passenger cars sold in the country. Although Zetsche said he supported the EPA’s test, he claimed the agency had “no suspicion” that Mercedes-Benz cheated.

The “dieselgate” scandal reached a new chapter last week, when Volkswagen issued a stop sale order on Audi, Porsche and VW cars and SUVs equipped with the 3.0 TDI V6 engine, which US federal regulators claim is also installed with the “defeat device.”

Wolfsburg also admitted that European carbon dioxide emissions and mileage ratings on some 800,000 cars are false – this will affect the taxes owners will have to pay for their vehicles, but the company has already said it will be working on paying the difference rather than having customers foot the bill.