If you’re caught cheating on diesel emissions testing, the punishment is never a one-off. There’s usually a federal civil case, lawsuits filed in states, maybe even criminal charges and, inevitably, plenty of class action challenges. Mercedes-Benz already was was fined $1.5 billion by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice and the California Air Resources Board as a result of its 2020 emissions cheating, and now the automaker is facing a group of 336,000 owners in the UK demanding their own compensation.

British law firms are currently working to link claims that could cover a much larger consumer group than the 90,000 Volkswagen owners who collectively received £193 million ($234.5 million) in a May settlement. The allegations are pretty standard, with one of the lawyers representing the owners’ group writing that alleged “affected vehicles would pass regulatory testing, but the devices would ‘turn off or in some cases turn off’ the nitrous oxide (NOx) control systems.” driven in ‘normal’ conditions,’ per The independent.

[Oliver Campbell KC, representing the car owners] said that under EU rules “the use of defeat devices that reduce the effectiveness of emission control systems is generally prohibited” and Mercedes reportedly knew their effect in normal operation was to “produce much higher amounts of NOx than permitted” .

He added that Mercedes was reportedly aware the devices were “illegitimate and could not be justified by the need to protect engine components”.

The lawyer said Mercedes was accused of being involved in an “illegitimate cartel” related to the use of its AdBlue technology and faced claims of “cheating” and that it had violated emissions regulations and competition law.

Mercedes’ defense is clearly trying to distance the automaker’s actions from those of Volkswagen, stating that the company will “prove no reduction in effectiveness” in the various emission control systems in its lineup, and that no such defeat software exists that can test scenarios can recognize.

Helen Davies KC, representing Mercedes, said in written comments that it “fully denied” liability for the alleged inclusion of “defeat devices” in its vehicles.

She said there were “critical differences” between the cases against it and the lawsuit against Volkswagen and “considerable care” was needed to refer to them.

The lawyer said that “emissions control is complex” and that there was “considerable variation in the hardware, software and parameter calibration” of the “very wide range” of vehicles involved in the claims against it.

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According to The independent, the owners’ legal advisers have said this “will be the consumer group’s biggest action before the English courts.” That really depends on whether Mastercard can find a way to get out current case of £10 billion for some 46 million British adults, all of whom would receive £300 compensation if they were successful. Hell, Mercedes could even get away with this without admitting anything technically wrong. Do not worry; it could be so much worse.


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