Dieselgate: making auto-manufacturers pay for polluting vehicles

4 min read
January 25, 2024

The consumer rights scandal known as “Dieselgate” refers to the 2015 revelations that several car manufacturers used illegal technologies known as ‘defeat devices’ to conceal the true level of emissions produced by the vehicles they sell. 

These defeat devices, mostly manufactured in Germany, were designed specifically for auto manufacturers who wanted to keep making and selling vehicles which did not meet safety standards and environmental regulations brought in to protect citizens’ health. 

This software would detect when vehicles were undergoing emissions tests and then adjust the engine accordingly. However, in normal driving conditions, the vehicles emitted up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide than allowed by law.

Seven years after the scandal first broke, it is estimated that thirteen million diesel cars that produce ‘extreme’ levels of toxic air pollution are still on the roads in the UK and Europe. Many of these extremely polluting vehicles were being sold as recently as 2019. 

What does the law say?

Despite the discovery of these defeat devices as far back as 2015, it took time for the case to go to court. 

In 2020 and 2022 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that defeat devices are illegal and that governments have a legal responsibility to investigate them. They also ruled that auto manufacturers should be held to account if a prohibited defeat device is found and forced to deliver corrective solutions for their deception of consumers and endangerment of citizens’ health.

Even post-Brexit this judgement would still apply to the UK. Yet the UK government seemed to have shrugged off this ruling. At the same time, the introduction of ULEZ and other legislation has put the financial burden of combating high emissions on motorists. 

There has been some legal action, but mostly from legal firms and private citizens. 

In 2022, Volkswagen reached a £193m settlement with UK drivers involved in a class action lawsuit over the Dieselgate scandal. The case was brought on behalf of more than 100,000 people by several legal firms and is considered the biggest consumer group action ever brought before the English courts. Following their success, more than 91,000 people in England and Wales are due to receive payouts.

However, under the terms of the settlement VW still refused any admission of liability – paying out to avoid drawn-out and costly legal proceedings. 

Collective redress

The Dieselgate scandal affected millions of drivers in the UK who bought or leased diesel cars or vans from brands such as Mercedes, BMW, Nissan, Renault, Citroen, Mini and many more.

So far there’s only been a small amount of recalls and it remains unclear if repairs are effective or not. But with the introduction of new legislation that penalises motorists who use high-emissions vehicles, it’s time that the auto manufacturers are held to account and start footing the bill. 

It is more vital than ever that consumers come together and take action so that they can be properly compensated for the false advertising and mis-selling of diesel vehicles. Collective redress is currently the only way for individual consumers to seek financial compensation through class action lawsuits. This is we are partnering with firms whose legal expertise will enable people to make their car manufacturers accountable and get reimbursement for the costs of repairs or replacements. 

Joining the GLO

If you were one of the motorists affected by Dieselgate, you could be entitled to claim up to £10,000 in compensation for being misled by the carmakers and suffering financial losses, such as higher fuel costs, lower resale value, or reduced performance.

While the VW case is over, new legal actions against other manufacturers, such as Mini, Nissan, Renault and Citroen, is being pursued under a Group Litigation Order (GLO). This is a mechanism by which the court manages individual claims linked by common or related issues of fact or law in a coordinated way.

Collective action can be a powerful thing. By joining a GLO, you can benefit from the expertise of the leading law firms and the collective strength of the group they represent – other vehicle owners who’ve experienced the same injustice and have come together to obtain a successful resolution.  

Am I eligible?

If you purchased, leased, or financed a new or secondhand diesel vehicle manufactured between 1st September 2009 and 31st December 2020 then you should join the group action – you may be entitled to compensation worth up to £10,000 per vehicle.

However, with the trial set to begin in the summer the deadline for joining these GLOs is April. After that, the firms will not accept any more cases.

If you are eligible, there’s no time to lose. To secure your compensation, you need to act fast.  

Check if you’re eligible

How we can help

We’ve partnered with a specialist firm that helps drivers join the GLO and claim their compensation. They have access to a network of solicitors who are experts in this field and who can carry out a free, no-obligation check to see if you qualify for a claim.

All you need to do is enter your vehicle registration number on their website and they will check your eligibility and connect you with the right GLO.

Don’t miss this opportunity to claim what you deserve – start your diesel emissions claim today.

Join the GLO now

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