Car owners affected by the Mercedes emissions scandal are being encouraged to claim compensation against the carmaker for the use of cheat devices. This development came after the Volkswagen Group settled their obligations with UK drivers in relation to the diesel emissions scandal.
Legal experts believe it is the right time for those whose vehicles were installed with defeat devices intended to cheat in emissions testing. An out-of-court settlement will allow affected drivers to avoid a lengthy and expensive trial.
Mercedes has long been in the spotlight for its involvement in the Dieselgate scandal that started in September 2015. Over the years, thousands upon thousands of affected car owners have had their vehicles recalled. Many of them have brought claims against the carmaker. In the UK, however, affected drivers only began working on their claims in 2020. Many are still not aware that they are entitled to receive compensation from Mercedes-Benz.
Towards the end of 2021, DUH or the Deutsche Umwelthilfe, a consumer protection group, found out that nitrogen oxide emissions in Mercedes vehicles increased by 500% outside laboratory conditions. They made this discovery after the 2016 Mercedes E350d BlueTec was tested. DUH allegedly discovered at least eight new cheat devices installed in the carmaker’s E-Class Euro 6-classified vehicles.
As they had done for previous emissions allegations against them, Mercedes and Daimler (Mercedes’ parent company) denied the accusations.
According to DUH, six of the eight defeat devices in Mercedes’ E350d six-cylinder engine are used for lowering the amount of the cleaning fluid AdBlue in the SCR filter system. The two other defeat devices impact the exhaust gas circulation system of the vehicle. Although only one model was tested, DUH officials believe the results are relevant to all other models that have the same engine type. Carmakers typically utilise just one registration date for a specific engine across different vehicle models. Aside from the E-Class, other Mercedes models that have the BlueTec SCR system-equipped OM642 engine are the G-Class, GL, and GLC vehicles.
Around 600,000 Mercedes-Benz car owners may be affected by the defeat devices in the UK.
How does the Dieselgate scandal affect car owners?
The Dieselgate scandal originally involved only one carmaker: the Volkswagen Group. US authorities found defeat devices installed in Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles that were sold to American consumers. The vehicles were marketed as environment-friendly and safe, with the guarantee of optimum performance. However, the presence of defeat devices contradicted this.
A defeat device is designed to sense when a vehicle is being tested so it can control – and conceal from authorities – emissions levels so these would remain within the limits regulated by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, when the vehicle is taken out of the lab and driven on actual roads, the vehicle switches to its default settings and emits extensive amounts of NOx or nitrogen oxide that go beyond the legal limits set by the EU and WHO. Thus, the vehicle becomes a significant contributor to the complicated air pollution global dilemma.
Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Renault, Peugeot, Alfa Romeo, Nissan, Jeep, Ford, Vauxhall, and many other car manufacturers were also caught using defeat devices in their diesel vehicles.
Since carmakers sold the vehicles at a premium price, customers bought products that did not deliver as promised. Instead, they drove vehicles that were pollutants. This is the reason why legal experts are urging affected car owners to claim the compensation they rightfully deserve. All the financial and environmental inconvenience the defeat device has caused customers must be properly compensated.
Aside from the financial and environmental repercussions, the use of defeat devices in diesel vehicles also has several health impacts, some of them quite serious and life-threatening.
What do diesel vehicles emit?
Diesel vehicles expel nitrogen oxide or NOx, a category of gases that has deleterious effects on both human health and the environment. NOx should be the primary reason for affected car owners to bring a claim against their carmakers.
NOx has NO (nitric oxide) and NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) as its main components. Although NO may be relatively harmless, once it reacts with NO2 and forms NOx, it can cause several negative effects on the environment and on human health, especially since nitrogen oxide is responsible for the formation of smog and acid rain.
When NOx combines with other chemicals, it produces ground-level ozone, a pollutant that affects vegetation, exposing plants and crops and making them susceptible to frost and damage.
The most important impact that affected car owners should be aware of, however, is nitrogen oxide’s effect on a person’s health. Someone who is exposed to NOx emissions can have any or several of the following health-related issues:
- Shortness of breath or breathing problems
- Chronic reduction of lung function
- Asthma or aggravated asthma
- Emphysema, bronchitis, or any other respiratory illnesses
- Increased susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases
- Laryngospasm or spasm of the vocal cords
- Fluid in the lungs
- Premature death
Affected car owners can claim compensation from their carmakers for all the inconvenience and dangers these NOx emissions health impacts have caused them.
Mercedes-Benz (and all the other carmakers) has a list of the vehicle models that are affected by the diesel emissions scandal. Before starting your Mercedes emissions claim, verify your eligibility to do so with the help of Emissions.co.uk.