Car Manufacturing Giants Fined for Emissions Tech Collusion
After the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal broke out in September 2015, authorities have been closely watching vehicle manufacturers, particularly those that have already been implicated in the scam. This is why the collusion involving the Volkswagen Group, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler did not go unnoticed.
According to the European Commission, the VW Group, BMW, and Volkswagen conspired with each other and broke antitrust laws when they held meetings to talk about SCR (or selective catalytic reduction technology, an essential factor in reducing diesel vehicle NOx emissions) and how – allegedly – they could delay the introduction of this technology.
Through an investigation, it was discovered that all three manufacturers, along with Porsche and Audi, worked together to stop or delay the advancement of more efficient NOx reduction technology through the use of urea (AdBlue). The technique does lower NOx emissions but it also affects engine performance. This is a violation of the European Economic Area regulations.
Representatives from the commission describe the carmakers’ actions as cartel-like behaviour. Each of the manufacturers admitted to participating in the conspiracy and gave their word that they would accept the consequences of their actions.
Authorities required BMW to pay a fine of €372 million (£331.77 million) while Volkswagen’s fine is set at €502 million (£447.72 million). Since Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, divulged the existence of the cartel to the commission, the carmaker was not required to pay any fine.
The discovery of the cartel is an additional burden for the automotive industry, particularly in Germany. This is an important development especially since the effects of the diesel emissions scandal still reverberate and thousands of affected car owners have yet to fully recover from their manufacturer’s deceitful actions.
What was the diesel emissions scandal all about?
The diesel emissions scandal is more commonly known as the Dieselgate scandal, which started when the Volkswagen Group was found to have used illegal defeat devices in their diesel vehicles that were sold in the US. The EPA or Environmental Protection Agency and the California Resources Board made the allegations against the carmaker.
A defeat device is used to cheat emissions testing as it is programmed to detect when a test is happening. Once testing is underway, the device hides real emissions from authorities by temporarily bringing down the emission levels of the vehicle it is installed into within the WHO-mandated limits.
However, once the vehicle is out and driven in real road conditions, it shifts to its default settings, which results in the vehicle emitting high levels of NOx emissions. The massive amounts of emissions exceed the WHO- and EU-mandated limits and violate emissions regulations.
Volkswagen was required to pay fines, recall thousands of vehicles so engine technology can be corrected, and face class-action lawsuits and group litigations.
Not long after Volkswagen was implicated in the scandal, US authorities called on the attention of Mercedes-Benz officials about their use of defeat devices for their diesel vehicles. What happened to VW is the same thing that Mercedes went through, except for the fact that 11 of their sites in Germany were raided by prosecutors about the scandal.
The Mercedes emissions scandal has deeply affected car owners in Europe and the UK, with the first claims case in Britain unfolding in 2020.
Car owners deceived by their carmakers into buying supposedly environmentally friendly vehicles that turned out to be pollutants are working with their legal representatives to bring a claim against their manufacturer.
Why are NOx emissions dangerous?
Nitrogen oxide or NOx emissions primarily come from diesel vehicles. These emissions are pollutants with various life-threatening impacts. Two of its components are nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide or NO2.
NOx is said to be responsible for smog and acid rain production, and also contributes to the development of ground-level ozone, a pollutant that makes vegetation vulnerable to weather conditions like frost.
When inhaled, NOx emissions can lead to several health impacts, including breathing difficulties, asthma, respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and emphysema, and fluid in the lungs.
Exposure to high levels of nitrogen oxide emissions can cause serious, life-altering effects, particularly vocal cords spasm, asphyxia, certain cancers, and cardiovascular diseases.
Reports from the WHO and various studies have also proven that constant exposure to nitrogen oxide emissions can also lead to premature death. It is now considered one of the leading causes of early deaths globally.
Bringing a diesel claim
If you own a Mercedes-Benz or any of the vehicles affected by the diesel emissions scandal, you need to hold your manufacturer responsible for all the dangers their deceitful act exposed you and the people around you. By bringing a Mercedes emissions claim against your carmaker, you can receive compensation for the trouble and inconvenience they put you through. Your manufacturer will also be able to change the vehicle’s engine with an emission-compliant one – all the better for your health and the environment.
However, you have to verify first if you are eligible to make a claim. You can do this with the help of ClaimExperts.co.uk. Get in touch with them now to start your compensation claim process.