Mercedes-Benz is set to come up against a sizable legal challenge from a law firm representing UK customers of the car manufacturer for allegedly cheating emissions tests.
A US-based firm representing Mercedes purchasers in the UK has filed particulars of the claim in the high court in London against Daimler, the owner of the manufacturer.
The case alleges that Mercedes-Benz fitted cars with ‘defeat devices’ when being tested. These would artificially lower carbon emissions detected during the testing stage in order to pass emissions regulations.
The claim also alleges that the carmaker has deceived regulators, lied to customers, and breached UK consumer law by marketing vehicles with falsified emissions data.
While this is not the first kind of claim of its kind, it will be the first one in the UK involving Mercedes-Benz. This case comes off the back of a protracted series of similar cases, starting from ‘dieselgate’, which involved Volkswagen being found to have installed defeat devices. Other manufacturers have since been found guilty of such behaviour and have collectively paid out billions of euros through fines and legal action by consumers.
Over 33,000 potential UK claimants have already been gathered, each in line for a potential £5,000 payout should the claim be successful. Mercedes-Benz were in court in the US for a similar case which resulted in a $700 million settlement to thousands of customers, which will provide confidence to those in the UK seeking such damages.
The claim could amount to an even larger sum, with an estimated 1.2 million parties potentially being eligible to claim for damages, including private owners, lease owners, and fleet owners. The law firm managing the case has said that the theoretical value of the maximum payout could exceed £1 billion.
Mercedes-Benz and Daimler vehemently deny the allegations and have stated that they will “vigorously defend against them or any group action”.