A consumer protection group has brought forward a case against carmaker Mercedes-Benz. It was filed in a court in Stuttgart, Germany, the lawsuit is in connection with the manufacturer’s alleged use of illegal defeat devices in their vehicles so they can cheat diesel emissions tests.
According to the group, Mercedes installed the cheat devices in their GLK and GLC crossovers. While in lab testing, the vehicles appeared to emit lower levels of nitrogen oxide. This was, however, the work of the defeat devices, which are programmed to detect lab testing and artificially reduce emissions levels to within the limits of the World Health Organization.
When the vehicles are driven in real-world driving conditions though, they emit considerable amounts of NOx emissions, often over the limits set by the EU and WHO. Thus, the vehicles are heavy pollutants.
The lawsuit is focused on the fact that Mercedes may have known about the devices and thus deceived and lied to their customers. Essentially, what they did was manage the exhaust gas purification using illegal means. This is why affected car owners have been talking to law firms and filing diesel emissions claims.
If the lawsuit is successful, GLK and GLC car owners will be compensated for the inconveniences, financial and otherwise, that the illegal defeat device has caused them. The amount of the compensation varies according to the details of every case.
Additionally, the Stuttgart lawsuit is on behalf of approximately 50,000 GLK and GLC models. It was filed right after a 2018 law was passed in Germany that made it possible for consumer protection groups to file a case on behalf of the affected customers they represent. This helps car owners avoid paying expensive legal fees, which are normally why some of them hesitate to bring legal action against their carmakers.
Mercedes and its parent company, Daimler, continue to deny allegations against them related to the use of defeat devices. They have, however, paid millions in fines and compensations, and thousands upon thousands of affected Mercedes-Benzes have been recalled throughout the years.
All part of the Dieselgate scandal
The lawsuit against Mercedes-Benz is linked to the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal that first broke in 2015 and changed the course of things for Volkswagen, Mercedes, and other carmakers. Considered one of the major scandals in the automotive industry, it involved the use of defeat devices to falsify emissions tests.
Volkswagen initially denied the allegations that the California Air Resources Board and the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) threw against them. Later on, however, VW officials acknowledged that they did knowingly install the defeat devices so they could reduce emissions levels during regulatory testing.
A year or so after VW was implicated in the scandal; American car owners of Mercedes-Benz vehicles started a class-action lawsuit against the carmaker in relation to the use of defeat devices. Years later, other car manufacturers started getting fines and lawsuits as well. Some of these carmakers are Renault, BMW, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Nissan, Citroën, Porsche, Audi, Opel, and Vauxhall, among others.
From the US, the scandal spread to Europe and the UK and, eventually, to other parts of the world. To date, the number of affected vehicles has ballooned to millions and thousands of vehicles have been recalled throughout the world.
Why defeat devices are illegal
Defeat devices are illegal because they cheat on emissions tests, which means the emissions levels reflected aren’t real. This endangers the environment and human health because nitrogen oxide (NOx), the gas that diesel vehicles emit, is a pollutant with life-changing, devastating effects.
Two of nitrogen oxide’s primary components are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). On their own, each can have negative impacts on both the environment and human health. As with NOx, constant exposure can lead a person to develop certain diseases or conditions.
For starters, NOx significantly contributes to the formation of smog and acid rain. Smog not only reduces visibility but it also affects air quality. Acid rain has acidic particles that almost always land on buildings and damage such structures.
Nitrogen oxide reacts with VOCs or volatile organic compounds to form ground-level ozone. This irritating, colourless gas is considered a secondary pollutant. It forms in the troposphere, which means it is close to the ground.
Ground-level ozone is the main component of smog and can impact plant respiration, animals, and human health. When a person breathes in ground-level ozone, they can develop health issues such as coughing, chest pain, congestion, and throat irritation. It can also inflame the lining of the lungs.
The health impacts of exposure to nitrogen oxide should not be taken lightly. These include susceptibility to COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, increased asthma attack frequency, shortness of breath, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory diseases.
Exposure to high levels of NOx can also lead to serious health impacts, including chronic reduction of lung function, increased susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers, lung infections, and premature death.
Emissions claims are vital
If you think you are affected by the diesel emissions scandal, get in touch with a panel of emissions solicitors who can help you file a Mercedes emissions claim. Claims are vital so manufacturers are held accountable for their deceiving acts.
Before anything else, though, you should visit the ClaimExperts.co.uk website to find out if you are eligible for Mercedes diesel compensation