Germans file emissions manipulation claim against Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes-Benz has been accused of intentional manipulation of exhaust emissions in various diesel models in a class-action lawsuit filed by Germany’s Federal Association of Consumers (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband, or VZBV).

The lawsuit, filed in Stuttgart’s higher region court on Wednesday, claims Mercedes-Benz uses illegal devices to alter the exhaust emissions in various models.

In a statement issued to the media, the VZBV singled out the GLC and GLK models fitted with Mercedes-Benz’s OM651 diesel engine as evidence of Mercedes-Benz’s intentional manipulation.

“The reason for this is numerous recalls by the [German] Federal Motor Transport Authority of Mercedes-Benz GLC and GLK models with the OM651 engine type due to impermissible disconnection devices,” said the VZBV.

Among the diesel emission manipulations devices identified by the VZBV is a so-called thermo switch, which alters the filtering of exhaust emissions depending on various factors, including ambient temperature.

“By installing such devices, manufacturers can ensure that vehicles comply with the permissible limit values for exhaust gases during type approval. In road traffic, however, they clearly exceed these values.”

In 2018, Mercedes-Benz was ordered to recall up to 670,000 cars fitted with diesel engines, 280,00 of which were located in Germany.

Included were the C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, GL, GLC, GLK, GLE, GLS, ML, SLK, SLC, V-Class, Vito and Sprinter models.

Despite the mandatory recall, Mercedes-Benz has sternly denied using illegal methods to manipulate diesel exhaust emissions.

A spokesperson told Automotive Daily’s exclusive partner Autocar: “We have not yet been served with the model declaratory action. We consider the claims asserted against us in diesel lawsuits to be unfounded and will continue to defend ourselves against them – also in the context of a possible model declaratory action.

“The German courts’ ruling in the individual proceedings is currently almost exclusively in our favor. In the individual proceedings, the German regional and higher regional courts have ruled in favor of the company in around 95 percent of the cases.”

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