Sheffield drivers to sue Mercedes over alleged role in the ‘dieselgate’ scandal
A group of Sheffield people will sue Mercedes over their role in the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, in which Mercedes is alleged to have used ‘defeat devices’ to avoid complying with the law regarding diesel car emissions.
In June 2018, Mercedes – along with BMW and Volkswagen – was found by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) to have fitted cheating software into their diesil engines, which limited emissions during testing, underrepresenting the true emissions released on the road.
This resulted in Mercedes diesel engines not complying with regulations on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
The company was forced to recall 774,000 vehicles across Europe and owners now face potentially having to pay for their vehicles to be fixed so that they comply with emissions.
And in July, the European Commission found that Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen Group, which includes VW, Audi and Porsche, had breached antitrust rules by colluding to avoid further progress in the development of technology on lowering NOx emissions in their diesel vehicles.
Sheffield men Paul Hanna, Mark Simpson and Nigel Walton are working with national consumer rights law firm Slater and Gordon to bring the claim.
The claim is expected to become a group action litigation, with tens of thousands of affected consumers working together to hold Mercedes to account.
Mr Hanna, who has recently joined the group litigation against Mercedes said: "I was shocked to learn of Mercedes’ use of defeat devices in their diesel cars and am keen that all of us who have been let down by Mercedes should receive the compensation we are due.
"It was especially disappointing to see that Mercedes colluded with other car manufacturers to suppress technology that could have reduced the vehicles’ emissions and protected the environment."
Following the emissions scandal Mercedes recalled vehicles in order to provide them with a software update known as a ‘fix’ to make the vehicles comply with emissions regulations. In a survey of Slater and Gordon’s claimants, 25 per cent of those who have had the 'fix' have experienced reliability issues since it was applied.
Whilst 31.8 per cent of those who have had the 'fix' have lost confidence in their car's reliability, 15 per cent of those who have had the 'fix' believe their car has since become less safe.
Meanwhile, 81 per cent of those who have had the 'fix' do not think that Mercedes were transparent with them about potential issues that may arise following the ‘fix’.
Gareth Pope, the lawyer in charge of the claim at Slater and Gordon, added: “Our clients will allege that Mercedes knowingly installed unlawful defeat devices in hundreds of thousands of UK vehicles that allowed them to pass emissions tests designed to protect human health and the environment while still being highly polluting on the road.
"As a result, our clients will allege that they have been deceived into purchasing these polluting vehicles for more than they were worth.”
"As part of the deception, our clients will also allege that Mercedes participated in a cartel with other German manufacturers, including Volkswagen, to suppress the development and implementation of cleaner emissions technology in order to maximise their profits.”
A Mercedes-Benz spokesperson said: "We consider the claims made against our company to be unfounded and will defend ourselves with the necessary legal means.
“Mercedes-Benz is appealing against the administrative orders of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, KBA). The courts will clarify the correct interpretation of relevant legal standards in this complex technical environment.
“In our view, the emission control functionalities objected to in the administrative orders by KBA are permissible.”