German automaker Daimler AG has agreed to resolve the emissions lawsuits filed against the company in the US. The Mercedes-Benz manufacturer will pay $1.5bn to settle Mercedes diesel compensation claims in the United States, particularly in California.
The emission claims are a result of Daimler’s violation of US environmental laws when it was discovered that the automaker used defeat devices in thousands of diesel vans and cars sold in the US. These devices are software programmed to detect when emissions tests are implemented so they can automatically lower the level of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emitted into the environment. As such, what is reflected is not the correct emissions level but a fake one.
Aside from the $1.5 billion settlement, Daimler is also expected to pay the class-action lawsuit that Mercedes-Benz owners in the US filed against the carmaker. This will cost them an additional $700 million. This should bring the total settlement amount to more or less $2.2 billion.
In addition to the court fees, Daimler will spend additional expenses for settlement requirements, the amount of which can reach the 3-digit-million mark in dollars.
Along with the payments, Daimler is also required to recall the affected vehicles so they can be fixed. This is part of their agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency, Justice Department, the California Air Resources Board, and US Customs and Borders Protection.
From the time the automaker was first implicated in the Dieselgate scandal, Daimler has maintained its stance and continues to deny the allegations. Despite the fact that they view the US agreement as an essential step in solving the diesel emissions proceedings, the car manufacturer continually sticks to their denial. According to them, they did not cheat with defeat devices and neither are they responsible for any liabilities in the US.
However, Daimler did guarantee that they will significantly improve their compliance systems. In addition, they started recalling affected vehicles, specifically those manufactured between 2009 and 2016, so modifications in the emissions systems can be carried out.
The US investigation on Daimler and its cars started in 2016, so the agreement is a major step for both parties. For the car manufacturer, however, it does not only put an end to civil court proceedings, but it also somehow indicates that US authorities did not reach a definitive decision as to whether Daimler’s cars were installed with cheat devices. Significantly, the settlement did not require the company to admit to their guilt.
Additionally, Daimler was not handed a Clean Air Act notice of violation, which is what the EPA typically issues to parties guilty of using defeat devices.
Daimler officials also reiterated that the settlement with US authorities and Mercedes-Benz car owners are based on US cars equipped with configurations different from cars distributed throughout Europe. The legal and regulatory requirements are not the same.
US officials: using defeat devices is wrong
Deputy Attorney General, Jeffrey Rosen, spoke on behalf of the US parties involved. According to him, the action on Daimler’s emissions case should serve as a warning to other car manufacturers who are thinking of violating US environmental laws.
On the other hand, US Environmental Protection Agency head, Andrew Wheeler, said in a press conference that cheaters will not be tolerated because they mislead consumers and violate the public’s trust.
For his part, California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, believes that developments in the Daimler case prove that cheating emissions will never be a good idea, especially for those who are looking for a smart and effective way of marketing their product. Using defeat devices in any vehicle will always be wrong and only bring problems to car manufacturers – with penalties and lawsuits topping the list.
Becerra acknowledged, though, that other car manufacturers also cheated, not just Daimler. For example, Volkswagen was the first manufacturer to have been caught using the devices back in 2015. The VW diesel emissions issue gave birth to the Dieselgate scandal.
Other car companies facing the same problems as VW and Daimler are Fiat Chrysler, Porsche, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Ford. Like Daimler, Fiat Chrysler also agreed to a US settlement for civil claims thrown against them. They are to pay US authorities around $800 million.
Filing Mercedes-Benz emissions claims
If you own a Mercedes-Benz and believe that your vehicle is installed with a Mercedes defeat device, find a way to verify this information. On the Mercedes-Benz website, you’ll find a page that allows you to check if your car is one of those affected. If it is, you can file an emissions claim so you can get back the compensation that Mercedes-Benz and Daimler owe you.
Get in touch with an emissions expert right away so you can start working on your Mercedes emission compensation claim. Choose to work with a highly experienced team, such as the ones you’ll find at the UK based Emissions.co.uk. They’ll guide you through every step of your Mercedes diesel emission claim.