It’s now nearing the end of 2022 but Mercedes-Benz is still in the news for issues linked to the 2015 diesel emissions scandal. Over the years, the German carmaker has had to deal with various Dieselgate-related developments – recall vehicles, attend to litigations or class-action lawsuits, pay off fines, and deal with orders from authorities. It’s an endless cycle, but one that’s expected since falsifying emissions is highly illegal and can destroy lives.
Mercedes’ Dieselgate story started in 2018 when millions of their diesel vehicles in Germany were discovered to have been installed with defeat devices used to cheat emission tests. Across Europe, authorities found an estimated 774,000 vehicles equipped with the cheat software. Of these, around 238,000 were ordered for immediate recall in Germany.
Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, then announced that recalls were also in order for affected vehicles in the UK. The company gave its word that the recall will be Europe-wide.
The statement shared by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority or KBA indicated that the Germany-wide recall was linked to Mercedes’ use of unauthorised cheat devices. Vehicles included in the recall are mainly models that carry the Euro 6b emission standard. These models are:
- GLC 2.2-litre diesel/OM 651
- V-Class 2.2-litre diesel/OM 651
- GLS/GL/GLE/ML 3.0-litre diesel/OM 642
- C-Class 1.6-litre diesel/OM 626
- Vito 1.6-litre diesel/OM 622
Several of the affected vehicles were part of the over three million diesel vehicles of the voluntary service action introduced in 2017 in Europe. The program was still in effect at the time of the 2018 recall.
Recalled vehicles will have their software updated to ensure engine management is corrected. Most updates are completed in an hour or so. Daimler and Mercedes will inform customers if their vehicle is included in the voluntary service action or will be recalled as mandated by authorities. If a vehicle is recalled, it will not be a part of the voluntary service action anymore.
What is the diesel emissions scandal?
Commonly known as the Dieselgate scandal, the diesel emissions scam took place in September 2015 and involved the Volkswagen Group and US authorities, specifically the California Air Resources Board and the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency.
According to the authorities, the Volkswagen Group installed defeat devices in Audi and VW vehicles in the US. These devices are capable of knowing when a vehicle is in regulatory testing. It masks real emission levels by artificially lowering them to within the WHO-regulated limits. So, the vehicle appears clean and safe to authorities, but this changes when it is brought out and driven on real roads – it shifts to its default settings once outside the laboratories, releasing considerable amounts of nitrogen oxide.
Volkswagen denied the allegations but eventually disclosed that most of their officials were aware of the defeat devices and what they were capable of doing. Thus, they marketed and mis-sold their diesel vehicles as environmentally safe even if these were heavy pollutants.
A couple of years later, US authorities implicated Daimler and Mercedes-Benz in the same scandal. Car owners gathered and agreed to file a class-action lawsuit against the German car manufacturer. The allegations soon spread through Europe and eventually reached the UK. Thousands upon thousands of affected car owners began seeking action against Mercedes, and in 2020, the first Mercedes diesel claim was brought to UK courts.
Aside from the VW Group and Mercedes, several other carmakers are involved in the diesel emissions scandal, including BMW, Alfa Romeo, Vauxhall, Renault, and Nissan, among others.
Why are defeat devices dangerous?
What makes defeat devices dangerous are the emissions that they hide when the vehicles are driven. Commonly known as NOx, it is a group of highly reactive and toxic gases. Its primary components are nitric oxide or NO and nitrogen dioxide or NO2.
NOx emissions are known catalysts for acid rain (and acidic pollutant) and smog (a yellowish or brownish cloud that indicates poor air quality). They also produce ground-level ozone, another pollutant. This colourless gas is irritating and can cause several environmental and health impacts. It is a core element of smog and affects vegetation, making crops and plants weak and prone to damage when exposed to extreme temperatures.
A person exposed to nitrogen oxide emissions is at risk for developing several health conditions, and some can be serious:
- Lungs filled with fluids
- Vocal cords spasm
- Breathing difficulties
- Reduced lung function
- Chronic headaches
- Asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory issues
- Deficient oxygen supply in the body (asphyxia)
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Reduced cognitive abilities
- Early death
VW, Mercedes, and all the other carmakers that knowingly installed defeat devices in their diesel vehicles should be held accountable for these impacts. Affected car owners should bring a diesel emissions claim against their carmaker for the ways that the emissions fraud has affected them – and the people around them.
Are you eligible for a Mercedes emissions claim?
If you have a Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicle that was bought between the years 2008 and 2019, then you may be eligible to bring a claim against the carmaker. You have to verify your eligibility first, and the best way to do this would be to work with Emissions.co.uk as they know the eligibility criteria and can point you in the right direction when you’re ready to bring a diesel claim against Mercedes.