"The government will order 238 000 Daimler vehicles to be immediately recalled Germany-wide because of unauthorised defeat devices", the ministry said in a statement.
Germany ordered Monday the recall of some 774,000 vehicles from Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler across Europe, citing illegal "defeat devices" created to hide high levels of harmful emissions from regulators´ tests.
Daimler said it would refit the software but denied any wrongdoing.
German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer summoned Zetsche after the KBA's discovery, even as Daimler disputes they were illegal.
Five models in total are reported to be affected, including the volume-selling Mercedes C-Class - the UK's ninth most popular vehicle previous year - and GLC SUV variants.
This is specifically linked to two functions of the engine control in Mercedes-Benz Vito vans. However, Germany's road vehicle authority, the KBA, has taken issue with the emission control features amid suspicion they allow vehicles to emit excess pollution without detection.
The Mercdes GLC is among the affected models
The company is reportedly confident it can bring the vehicles back into compliance via software update.
"In our integrated emission control systems, there are several hundred functions interlocked with each other, which can not be considered independently from each other", a Daimler spokesperson told The Drive.
The auto maker said in a statement: 'The functions are part of a complex emission control system created to ensure robust emission control in different driving conditions and over the life of a vehicle.
That said, it has pledged to remove the software and to cooperate with authorities, the ministry said.
Daimler said in a statement only that it "confirmed the recall" and added that "open legal questions will be clarified in appeal proceedings".
Ellinghorst estimated the cost to Daimler to be less than 100 million euros.