Everything You Need to Know about the Mercedes Diesel Emission Scandal

The Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal may have started in 2015 with Volkswagen but it quickly blew up to include other equally popular vehicle manufacturers. One of these carmakers is Mercedes-Benz, a German automotive company like VW. 

The Mercedes emissions scandal began the same way VW’s story did – with the US Environmental Protection Agency calling their attention and revealing their use of illegal defeat devices in diesel vehicles they sold in the United States. Mercedes has had to pay fines and fees, and face group litigations as a result of this.

Several years later, the diesel emissions scandal reached European shores when the KBA (German Federal Motor Transport Authority) forced Mercedes-Benz to recall over 770,000 of their vehicles in Europe in 2018. Authorities acted on claims that the cars were equipped with defeat devices intended to cheat on emissions tests. 

In 2019, five defeat devices possibly used in Mercedes vehicles were identified by the ICCT or International Council on Clean Transportation. The devices were alleged to have used technology that suppressed emission levels every time a Mercedes-Benz vehicle was being tested. 

The Mercedes emissions scandal eventually spread throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. There are now thousands upon thousands of affected Mercedes car owners in the UK, and many have started the process of claiming emission compensation.

What do defeat devices do?

As mentioned above, defeat devices are intended to cheat on emissions testing. It can detect when a vehicle is being tested, and it automatically reduces emission levels so the vehicle’s emission levels would stay within the safe and legal limit set by the World Health Organization. 

However, when the vehicle was driven in real-world road conditions, the defeat device uncaps the vehicle’s emission levels, making them exceed the EU and WHO limits. So, essentially, a vehicle installed with a defeat device is a pollutant.

When Mercedes sold these defeat device-equipped diesel vehicles, they did so by marketing them as clean and safe. In reality, though, their customers paid a premium using their hard-earned money for highly polluting cars.

Mercedes’ defeat devices also significantly contributed to the increase of nitrogen oxide in the air. NOx is dangerous to the environment and human health.

What is nitrogen oxide?

NOx contains the gases nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are two of the components of acid rain and smog. It is also responsible for the formation of ground-level ozone, which is another type of hazardous gas.   

Aside from its negative effects on the environment, NOx also has several impacts on human health. The most common of these indirect and direct effects are:

  • Headaches
  • Eye irritation
  • Corroded teeth
  • Breathing problems
  • Lung issues
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chronically reduced lung function
  • Asthma or aggravated asthma
  • Respiratory diseases

In severe cases, where the exposure is extensive, there is an increase in the risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. NOx exposure has also been linked time and again to premature death. One such case is the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a UK resident who died in 2013. The nine-year-old had been in and out of the hospital for 28 months because of seizures. She also had 28 hospital visits related to breathing problems. She succumbed to a severe asthma attack and acute respiratory failure in February 2013. 

An inquest on her death was opened and in December 2020, the coroner concluded that Ella died of causes related to air pollution. She and her mum, Rosamund, lived near the South Circular Road in Lewisham, a heavily polluted area. As a result, Coroner Philip Barlow called on the government to immediately act on setting new targets for PM2.5 or particulate matter based on WHO guidelines. 

What the Mercedes emissions scandal did

Mercedes and its defeat devices affected the environment, their customers, and millions of people innocently going about their daily lives. 

The customers had no idea that the vehicles they purchased were not the clean and safe engines that they were marketed as – that the vehicles were actually pollutants. As such, Mercedes lied to their customers and mis-sold thousands of diesel vehicles. Each customer who bought Mercedes vehicles with defeat devices should be compensated by the carmaker.

Nitrogen oxide’s negative effects on human health are not known to everyone. So, the thousands upon thousands of people who go about their daily lives, traveling from one location to another are exposed to polluted air. Mercedes’ defeat devices contributed to this global environmental and health issue.

Lastly, high NOx emissions mean higher maintenance costs and fuel bills for affected customers. As such, they have every right to file a diesel Mercedes claim

Filing your Mercedes diesel claim

Filing a Mercedes diesel claim is the right of every affected driver. It can be challenging and time-consuming, especially if you do not know how to go about the process. So, the best thing to do is find someone who can help you, someone trained and experienced to do so like the panel of emissions solicitors at Their panel of solicitors know what you need and how to go about the emissions claims process. The panel behind the website  has won several claims cases, so your chances of winning are higher if you work with them. Get in touch with them now!

Kai Alana

The author Kai Alana