Mercedes-Benz is one of the carmakers that continue to hog the spotlight long after the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal broke in 2015. Although they, along with their parent company Daimler, have always denied the allegations against them, the German carmaker continues to deal with the repercussions of the scandal.
While the Mercedes emissions scandal made it to UK shores only in 2020, the carmaker has been in the news for years. After Mercedes vehicle owners in the US decided to join together and file a class-action lawsuit for the alleged use of defeat devices, KBA or the German Federal Motor Transport Authority accused the carmaker of installing a cheat device in their diesel vehicles. The device is used to temporarily suppress emissions levels when a vehicle is in testing. This makes Mercedes vehicles heavy pollutants as they did not adhere to NOx or nitrogen oxide emissions regulations.
As a result, the carmakers have had to recall over 700,000 of the vehicles they sold in Europe. Affected car owners have also had to have their vehicles fixed and corrected so they would follow emissions standards. This meant additional expenses.
Later that year, in July 2018, Daimler, along with the Volkswagen Group and BMW, violated antitrust rules by working together to delay the progress of technology being developed for reducing diesel vehicle NOx emissions.
Vehicles affected by the Mercedes emissions scandal are those that were manufactured between the years 2008 and 2018. There were approximately 600,000 affected vehicles in the UK at that time.
Carmakers taking action
Car owners whose vehicles are found to have had defeat devices feel that their carmakers lied to and deceived them. Manufacturers marketed and sold the vehicles as environmentally friendly alternatives even if they were actually pollutants. As a result, several car owners in the UK have partnered with legal firms and decided to take action against Mercedes.
Paul Hanna, Nigel Walton, and Mark Simpson of Sheffield are three of the car owners who have decided to join the group action litigation for Mercedes emissions. Car owners from Leicester have also joined the group action versus the German manufacturer. David Simpson and Jayeshkumar Patel are only two of the tens of thousands of drivers whose vehicles were equipped with defeat devices and therefore violated emissions regulations.
Rochdale residents Robert Campbell, Farah Hussain, and Shiraz Siddique—like the above-mentioned car owners—have been working with their legal representatives and decided to join the claims litigation. Campbell expressed their disappointment in Mercedes and admitted that they did not expect the company to use cheat devices.
Although they come from different areas in the UK, the affected residents feel the same way: their manufacturer had let them down. They all believe Mercedes should compensate them for the premium price they paid for the vehicles and for all other inconveniences they experienced because of the defeat devices.
One of the lawyers representing some of the car owners said that Mercedes-Benz knew the defeat devices installed in their diesel vehicles were illegal but the carmaker still allowed these to be sold. The devices are able to detect when vehicles are in testing. Once they do, the devices reduce emissions levels artificially so these would stay within the World Health Organization’s regulated limits. However, when the vehicles are driven outside laboratory conditions, they release voluminous amounts of NOx or nitrogen oxide, in levels that are multiple times over the WHO and EU limits.
As such, the Mercedes vehicles sold to the above-mentioned UK residents are all heavy pollutants.
Nitrogen oxide emissions
The emissions from diesel vehicles are known as NOx or nitrogen oxide. This gas has nitric oxide (NO) and NO2 or nitrogen dioxide, which are responsible for the creation of acid rain and smog. When NOx reacts with other chemicals, it produces a pollutant called ground-level ozone, which can significantly affect vegetation.
Exposure to nitrogen oxide emissions can cause mental health issues, specifically anxiety and depression. However, the most dangerous effects of exposure to NOx emissions are the various health impacts, some of which can be life-changing.
If a person is exposed to low levels of nitrogen emissions, the effects can include breathing problems (difficulty in breathing), headaches, fluid developing in the lungs, asthma and aggravated asthma (for those who already have the condition), other respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and emphysema, and corroded teeth.
If the exposure is constant and involves high levels of NOx emissions, the effects on human health can be life-threatening. These include:
- Increased risk for certain cancer
- More susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases
- Spasm of the vocal cords (laryngospasm)
- Fluid in the lungs
- Premature death
Toxic air has become a major cause of early deaths globally. It has become even more dangerous than smoking. In the UK, the first premature death was recorded in 2013, when nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah died after a severe asthma attack. After an inquest, the coroner ruled her death as caused by exposure to air pollution. Ella lived near South Circular Road, a highly polluted area.
Mercedes emissions claim
Affected carmakers in the UK (or anywhere in the world) have every right to bring their carmakers to court through a Mercedes emissions claim.
If you want to join the legal action, get in touch with Emissions.co.uk to verify your eligibility in bringing a claim.