Mercedes Benz makes first UK court appearance as ‘dieselgate’ class-action lawsuit begins

German carmaker Mercedes Benz today appeared in a UK court over its alleged part in the ‘dieselgate’ scandal.   

Lawyers acting on behalf Mercedes Benz drivers asked a London court to let them launch a class-action type lawsuit against the German firm over claims it cheated on emissions tests.

Class-action specialists Leigh Day and Pogust Goodhead called on London’s High Court to give them opt-in status to bring forward the claim.

This group litigation order (GLO) would let the law firms bring the lawsuit against Mercedes Benz forwards, with a view to letting affected opt-in to the collective claim.

The lawsuit alleges Mercedes Benz misled its customers by using ‘defeat devices’ to cheat on regulatory emissions tests.

Carmakers are accused of seeking to hide the levels of toxic nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emissions coming out of their diesel cars to pass regulatory tests.  

Volkswagen AG – which owns the Porsche, Audi, SEAT, and Lamborghini car brands – has paid out more than €30bn (£26.6bn) in compensation and legal fees over its part in the scandal including a $14.7bn settlement with US authorities.

In 2020, the UK’s High Court ruled against Volkswagen in a claim brought forward on behalf of 90,000 British drivers, in stating the carmaker misled its customers by cheating on emissions tests.

In July 2022, Mercedes Benz was subject to similar collective action type lawsuit brought forward on behalf of German drivers over its alleged manipulation of emissions tests.

Leigh Day’s senior partner Martyn Day said: “We believe Mercedes willingly misled its customers and these claimants have a right of compensation against the car manufacturer.”

A spokesperson for Mercedes Benz said: “The hearing concerns a Group Litigation Order (GLO) application that was filed at the High Court.”

“The application is a procedural step to consolidate individual claims that claimant law firms have filed to date.”

“We believe that the claims are without merit and will vigorously defend ourselves against them or any group action with the necessary legal means.”

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