Mercedes Pays Billions in US for Diesel Tampering

Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, reached a settlement with US authorities and car owners last August 2020. According to court documents, the German carmaker has agreed to pay the United States government $2.2 billion (£1.84 billion) for allegedly using cheat software in Mercedes vehicles to manipulate emissions testing. This includes payments for claims for around 250,000 American car owners. 

The carmaker is expected to pay US authorities $1.5 billion (£1.25 billion) while $700 million (or £586 million) will be paid to the affected car owners. Each owner may receive a maximum of $3,290 or £2,752. Daimler and Mercedes also agreed to pay attorneys’ fees and the car owners’ lawyers’ expenses. California authorities will receive $285.6 million (£239 million).

Daimler also promised to adhere to settlement requirements, which means they may have additional expenses that are equal to millions of euros.

Vehicle recalls are also part of the settlement, with Daimler agreeing to issue recalls to replace the affected engines with safe and emissions-compliant ones. The company will also provide their affected customers with extended warranties. Approximately $546 million (£457 million) will be used for the recalls and fixes. 

What Daimler and Mercedes did

According to the US Justice Department, around 16 auxiliary emissions control devices were found in Mercedes-Benz vehicles and Daimler did not disclose this information to authorities. The devices allowed the diesel vehicles in question to perform in ways that easily pleased and enticed consumers. These devices were designed to manipulate and reduce emissions levels while a vehicle is in regulatory testing. 

This is similar to what Volkswagen did in September 2015 when US authorities found defeat devices in diesel vehicles that the carmaker sold to American consumers. This incident became known as the Dieselgate scandal. 

What’s the Dieselgate scandal?

When the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Resources Board called on Volkswagen for the alleged use of defeat devices, little did the global automotive industry know that it would become a scandal of major proportions involving some of the world’s largest and most popular car brands.

The illegal software found in VW diesel vehicles is programmed to detect when a vehicle is in laboratory testing. It automatically reduced emission levels artificially so these would stay within the limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

However, when such vehicles were taken for a drive in real-world road conditions, their emission levels are multiple times higher than the safe and legal limits regulated by WHO and the EU. Thus, vehicles with defeat devices are heavy pollutants as diesel cars and vans emit NOx or nitrogen oxide, a gas that has detrimental effects on the environment and on human health.

A few years after Volkswagen’s non-compliance of emissions regulations was uncovered, Mercedes-Benz was also implicated in the diesel emissions scandal. Defeat devices were also allegedly found in Mercedes diesel vehicles sold across the US. Eventually, the scam reached Europe and UK shores and the list of affected car owners grew.

Although the Mercedes emissions scandal initially involved fewer cars than VW’s Dieselgate, the number of involved vehicles has increased over the years and this now totals to millions.  

Aside from VW and Mercedes-Benz, other car manufacturers are also involved in the emissions scandal, including Renault, BMW, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Citroën, Jeep, Nissan, Skoda, Audi, and Porsche, among many others. 

Nitrogen oxides and their impacts on health and the environment

NOx or nitrogen oxide is a gas that contains nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). It contributes to the creation of ground-level ozone, acid rain, and smog. It also affects vegetation as exposure to NOx can result in stunted growth and frost damage for crops and plants.

Nitrogen oxide is also said to trigger several mental health-related issues, particularly depression and anxiety. There have also been cases that linked exposure to NOx to dementia.

The most devastating consequences of NOx exposure, however, are all related to human health:

  • A person exposed to nitrogen oxide can develop health issues such as breathing or lung problems, nausea and vomiting, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma or aggravated asthma, headaches, and other respiratory diseases.
  • If a person is constantly exposed to excessive amounts of nitrogen oxide, they may experience serious health impacts, including increased risk to certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases, asphyxiation, chronically reduced lung function, and premature death.

A nine-year-old UK resident who died in 2013 became the first official case of premature death due to air pollution in the country. Ella Kissi-Debrah died after a severe asthma attack ravaged her young body. She had been in and out of the hospital for years because of seizures and asthma. After an inquest, the coroner ruled her death as caused by air pollution in December 2020.

Filing your Mercedes emissions claim

As an owner of an affected vehicle, it is your right to claim compensation from your manufacturer. A Mercedes emissions claim will compensate you for the financial and health-related inconveniences that the defeat device has caused you, as well as for your manufacturer’s lie and mis-selling. It won’t be an easy and quick process, but you can go through it with the help of a panel of emissions solicitors.

Visit the ClaimExperts.co.uk website and you’ll discover that they’re regulated, well-trained, and highly experienced. They have a panel of emissions solicitors who are what you need to maximise your chances of winning. So, get in touch with them now.  

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