What has happened?
The German vehicle regulator, the KBA, has found that hundreds of thousands of Mercedes Vehicles (including the popular Euro 6 Vito) contain illegal ‘defeat devices’, which allow cars, vans and taxis to appear to pass emissions tests, but in the real world to emit many times the legal limits of NOx.
Daimler announced in 2017 that almost all diesel vehicles it has manufactured since 2009 would be able to be recalled and fitted with new software.
In September 2019, Daimler AG (the parent company of the Mercedes-Benz Group) was fined €870 million for negligently failing to supervise the production of these vehicles. In its 2019 annual report, Daimler noted that ‘it is likely that in the course of the ongoing and/or further investigations [the] KBA will issue additional administrative orders holding that other Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles are also equipped with impermissible defeat devices’.
Can I join?
Vehicles recalled by the KBA so far include:
- E300d and E350d
- GLC 220d and GLC250d
- GLE 250d
- C180d and C200d
- GLK 200d and GLK220d
However, anybody who bought a Euro 5 or Euro 6 diesel Mercedes-Benz in England or Wales can apply to join the claim. If you bought or leased an affected Mercedes in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you can still complete our questionnaire, but your claim will be handled slightly differently.
How bad is the cheat?
We have seen independent testing data that shows these vehicles producing up to ten times more NOx in circumstances which really shouldn’t affect the emissions levels.
The claims will comprise different causes of action, which could include:
- a claim that Mercedes breached EU law by failing to meet the regulatory limits for NOx emissions;
- a claim in deceit or fraudulent misrepresentation (ie, that Mercedes made a representation to consumers that the vehicles complied with the relevant regulations when in fact they did not);
- a claim for breach of contract (ie, that the vehicles are not of a satisfactory quality);
- a claim for redress under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (which prohibit certain kinds of behaviour by traders, and can mean that damages are assessed as a percentage of the purchase price of the vehicle);
- a claim, against Mercedes’ financial services company if the vehicle was bought using finance, that an ‘unfair relationship’ arises out of the agreement in circumstances in which Mercedes knew its vehicles did not meet the requirements to be registered on the road, but you did not.
Why does this matter?
NOx is a pollutant which has been linked to diseases including childhood asthma. Recent reports have also indicated a link between those living in areas with poor air quality and people suffering the most severe Covid-19 symptoms.
NOx emissions from vehicles contribute to harmful environmental issues like acid rain and smog.
Mercedes is said to have chosen the cheaper route to emissions compliance: it could have engineered its way to a solution, and provided vehicles which were suitable for use in our towns and cities, but instead it appears to have chosen to cheat regulations and compromise the environment and our health for profit.
How much compensation will I get?
The claims are at a very early stage, and it is difficult to say with any certainty at this stage, however we estimate that each claimant should be entitled to somewhere in the region of £5,000 – £10,000 per affected vehicle.
This will depend on your circumstances: you may be entitled to more or less.
Click here to see whether you can claim for Mercedes-Benz vehicles in your fleet.