Hyundai and Kia Investigated for Diesel Tampering Devices

South Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia have recently been added to the list of car brands that have been implicated in the diesel emissions scandal. In July this year, German authorities raided their offices in response to allegations that both companies fitted their diesel vehicles with cheat devices that illegally alter emissions during lab testing.

The eight offices raided were in Luxembourg and Germany with affected diesel vehicles potentially equalling more than 210,000. Hyundai and Kia get their software and ECUs or engine control units from Borgwarner Group-owned Delphi and Bosch. Like both carmakers, the suppliers coordinated with authorities. Bosch also divulged that they have already reached an agreement with prosecutors in Stuttgart in 2019. 

Hyundai and Kia sell diesel vehicles only in Europe, so there were no raids conducted in the US. It’s important to note, though, that both carmakers were previously investigated in the mid-2010s about emissions cheating. 

What’s the diesel emission cheating scandal about?

In September 2015, authorities representing the US EPA or Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board called on the Volkswagen Group. Authorities found defeat devices-equipped Audi and Volkswagen vehicles sold in the United States.

These devices can tell when a vehicle is being tested and temporarily bring down emissions levels to fool authorities. To the latter, the vehicle appears fuel-efficient, but in reality, it is a pollutant – once the vehicle is taken out of the lab and driven on real roads, it releases massive volumes of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. NOx is a highly reactive, harmful group of gases that can be life-threatening.

Volkswagen has had to pay fines and recall vehicles, aside from going to court for class-action lawsuits and group litigations for compensation claims. The carmaker has spent millions on the payouts. 

Mercedes-Benz, a German carmaker like VW, is also part of the Dieselgate diesel emissions fiasco. A few years after the scandal initially broke, US authorities found defeat devices in Mercedes vehicles sold in the American market. Like Hyundai and Kia, German authorities also raided Daimler’s (Mercedes’ parent company) offices in connection to the utilisation of defeat devices. The carmaker continues to recall affected vehicles.

The scandal, considered a major setback for the automotive industry, has also affected many other carmakers aside from Volkswagen, Mercedes, Hyundai, and Kia. 

Why are NOx emissions harmful?

The primary components of nitrogen oxide are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). Acid rain and smog are formed with the help of NOx, and a pollutant called ground-level ozone is also dependent on it. These three are contributors to air pollution and can be harmful to human health as well. Ground-level ozone, for example, can make crops and plants weaker and may even stunt their growth. 

When a person inhales nitrogen oxide emissions, they can experience various negative health effects – some are mild and some can be severe. Low-level exposure can lead to potential mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, and may even include loss of cognitive abilities. 

Exposure to NOx emissions has several impacts on a person’s overall health. When one is exposed to low levels of nitrogen oxide emissions, one becomes susceptible to respiratory illnesses, particularly asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. Other possible health impacts include diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, difficulty in breathing, and the build-up of fluid in the lungs. 

If high-level exposure is constant, the effects can be extreme; the most common ones being cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, asphyxiation, chronic lung function reduction, and laryngospasm or spasm of the vocal cords. 

Exposure to nitrogen oxide emissions can also lead to early death; the first one to be recorded was that of Ella Adoo Kissi-Debrah. She lived in the UK, in the vicinity of Lewisham’s South Circular Road, an area with considerable levels of NOx emissions. Just several weeks after Ella celebrated her ninth birthday, she was rushed to the hospital after passing out. That was only the first of many emergency room and hospital visits. Her life was cut short one day in February 2013 after a severe asthma attack. In December 2020, the coroner confirmed air pollution as the primary cause of Ella’s death.

Making a diesel claim

The environmental effects, health impacts, and premature deaths are all major reasons for any affected Hyundai, Kia, VW, or Mercedes owner to bring a claim against their manufacturer. Using defeat devices to tamper with emissions is illegal and dangerous, and deceitful carmakers should be held responsible for their actions.

A Dieselgate compensation claim will compensate affected car owners for their carmakers’ deceitful acts, mis-selling, and lying. 

How do I start my diesel claim?

If you think your vehicle was fitted with a defeat device, verify your eligibility through It’s the only way to start your diesel claim process.

Comments are closed.