Car giant Mercedes-Benz could be forced to recall up to 500,000 vehicles in the UK over claims of a new ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal.
More than 10,000 British motorists have signed up to join a possible legal case against the German manufacturer amid fears that they were misled into buying polluting cars.
Mercedes allegedly used ‘defeat devices’ to mask the true amount of diesel emissions produced during pre-sale testing.
Law firm Slater and Gordon says an estimated 160,000 vehicles have been affected by recall notices in the UK so far, but predicts the number could reach half a million – based on historic sales figures of cars with the affected engine types.
Car giant Mercedes-Benz could be forced to recall up to 500,000 vehicles in the UK over claims of a new ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal
Mercedes is the second carmaker hit by a ‘dieselgate’ scandal after allegations surfaced against Volkswagen in 2015. The High Court ruled in April that Volkswagen installed unlawful devices to subvert emissions tests in thousands of vehicles.
The allegations against Mercedes surfaced last month but the scale of the case has expanded rapidly since then. Lawyers told the Mail that the number of UK recalls has risen in two weeks from around 100,000 to an estimated 160,000.
In all, around one million British Mercedes drivers, including previous owners, could be eligible for compensation payouts worth up to £20,000 each.
The recalls affect a range of Mercedes models fitted with five engine types and include GLC, E, SLK, G and M class as well as Sprinter and GLE 166 series.
Many of the recalls feature AdBlue technology, which Mercedes claimed would reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions to create ‘our cleanest cars ever’.
They also include models made as recently as 2018, three years after the Volkswagen scandal sparked global outrage.
Gareth Pope, of Slater and Gordon, which is representing 7,500 Mercedes customers in England and Wales, told the Mail: ‘The dieselgate scandal is now rapidly engulfing Mercedes-Benz.
‘Tens of thousands of cars have been earmarked for recall over concerns they produce dangerous levels of pollution in real-world conditions, but that’s looking like just the tip of the iceberg.
Gareth Pope, of Slater and Gordon, which is representing 7,500 Mercedes customers in England and Wales, told the Mail: ‘The dieselgate scandal is now rapidly engulfing Mercedes-Benz’
‘There was global outrage at VW’s attempts to dupe consumers and regulators. If it is proven that other manufacturers continued to produce vehicles with unlawful cheat software, then it seems even more cynical.’
The KBA – Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority – recently issued recalls for 300,000 Mercedes vehicles worldwide after discovering they contained ‘impermissible defeat devices’.
Around 20 per cent of these affect UK vehicles, meaning the total number of new recalls in Britain is around 60,000, according to Slater and Gordon.
This is on top of an estimated 100,000 cars recalled before the most recent notices. According to lawyers working on the case, the ‘defeat devices’ limited the amount of emissions produced when the car was in ‘test mode’.
Law firm PGMBM – also preparing an action – claims the true amount of emissions produced in ‘real-world’ conditions outside of testing ‘exceeded the limits imposed by EU and UK laws by up to ten times’.
Daimler AG, Mercedes’ parent company, has already been fined in Germany, and is being investigated in the US and Canada for duping regulators over the levels of nitrogen oxide and dioxide its vehicles produced.
It said: ‘We believe that the claims are without merit and will vigorously defend against any group action.’