A group litigation claim has been lodged that could see Mercedes-Benz UK’s parent company having to fork out up to £10bn to British drivers over the emissions scandal.
Law firm PGMBM alleges that Mercedes-Benz misled customers, the public and authorities over the amount of toxic emissions from certain models of its diesel cars and vans manufactured between 2007 and 2018
It has filed the claim against Daimler AG at the Liverpool district registry of the High Court, in the business and property courts, and says thousands more claimants are being added to the action each week as revelations of the scandal become public.
The German company is suspected of installing ‘defeat devices’ in hundreds of thousands of vehicles so that they passed emissions testing. The claim alleges that Mercedes acted fraudulently by producing cars and vans whose real-world diesel emissions exceeded the EU and UK legal limits by up to 10 times.
In July 2017, Daimler voluntary recalled three million of its diesel vehicles manufactured to Euro 5 and Euro 6 emissions standards. The following year, Germany’s Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt motor authority found that some 280,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles had had illegal defeat devices installed, which led to a wider recall of 670,000 affected vehicles across Europe.
As part of a settlement with German prosecutors, Daimler AG was fined €870m (circa £774m) last year.
Damages awarded in similar cases have typically been more than £10,000 per vehicle, says PGMBM – a partnership between British, Brazilian and American lawyers.
The law firm estimates that up to 500,000 vehicles in the UK could be affected, with an average of two owners each, making one million consumers. This means Mercedes-Benz may face having to pay £10bn in compensation claims if found liable.
PGMBM managing partner Tom Goodhead said: ‘This case highlights how Mercedes has abused the trust of its customers by egregiously misleading them in the pursuit of profit.
‘We believe that Mercedes must be held to account for its unlawful and deceitful actions, and this case will give consumers the opportunity to do so, and be compensated for being misled by a supposedly trustworthy company.’
Mercedes-Benz issued a short statement to Car Dealer Magazine in response, saying: ‘We believe these claims are without merit, and will vigorously defend against any group action.’
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