The diesel emissions scandal has affected some of the world’s most popular car brands, including Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen. The majority of them have spent billions on compensation fees, legal costs, and vehicle recalls (for emissions correction).
One of the carmakers that have had to deal with the repercussions of the scandal is BMW, a manufacturer of high-performing luxury vehicles with headquarters based in Germany. Like Mercedes, VW, and all the other carmakers affected by Dieselgate, BMW allegedly integrated defeat devices in their diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests.
The carmaker first made headlines in 2017 when German authorities discovered that they were working with the Volkswagen Group and Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler in organising secret workshops and colluding to delay or restrict developing technology for clean emissions from the years 2006 to 2014. Investigations started in 2018 and, in 2019, authorities found all three manufacturers guilty of breaking anti-trust laws. BMW and VW were fined but Mercedes was not since they reported the existence of the cartel.
While investigations into the collusion were ongoing, authorities raided the BMW headquarters in 2018. The raid was conducted in relation to allegations of the use of cheat devices. The carmaker eventually revealed that they mistakenly equipped around 11,400 diesel vehicles with defeat devices to manipulate emissions testing.
According to government-funded researchers, several of BMW’s diesel-powered vehicles released toxic emissions that were at least seven times over the safe and legal limits. The emissions are known as NOx or nitrogen oxide, a heavy pollutant that causes adverse effects on a person’s health and on the environment.
Nitrogen oxide is a reactive group of gases with nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide as the group’s main components. It produces acid rain, smog, and ground-level ozone that cause plants and crops to weaken and become more exposed to frost and damage. NOx triggers depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Its most devastating impact is its adverse effects on the environment and a person’s overall health.
An individual who is regularly exposed to NOx emissions will be prone to asthma, can develop fluid in the lungs, and suffer from respiratory illnesses such as emphysema and bronchitis. Cognitive abilities can also be affected, which means anybody exposed to nitrogen oxide emissions can increase a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of dementia.
Serious health impacts are life-changing, especially laryngospasm or vocal cords spasm, asphyxiation, and cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, over the years, there has been a significant increase in premature deaths linked to air pollution, including NOx emissions.
The first case of death due to toxic air happened in the UK. Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah succumbed to an asthma attack. The nine-year-old had been visiting the hospital for months due to her flagging health. She regularly breathed in toxic air as she lived in south London with her mother, near the highly polluted area of South Circular Road. Her death underwent an inquest and in December 2020, the coroner officially ruled air pollution as the reason for her demise.
These health impacts are a major reason why law firms, authorities, and the government have been urging affected car owners to file a claim against their manufacturers. These are also the reasons why the diesel emissions scandal is considered one of the worst disasters to ever hit the global automotive industry.
The VW Dieselgate scandal
In 2015, US authorities sent the Volkswagen Group a notice informing them that defeat devices have been found in their diesel vehicles in the country. According to the California Air Resources Board and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), Audi and VW vehicles used the devices to hide real emissions levels during testing.
VW initially denied the allegations but they eventually admitted to knowingly fitting the vehicles with cheat devices later on. By admitting such an action, they also confirmed that they mis-sold the cars and lied to their customers. They marketed and sold the vehicles as fuel-efficient and environmentally safe.
A defeat device is used to determine when a vehicle goes into testing so that it could bring down emissions levels artificially and keep this within the World Health Organization or WHO-mandated limits. However, the vehicle only appears clean and safe while in the lab during testing; once it is driven on real roads, it emits massive volumes of nitrogen oxide.
So, instead of protecting the environment and helping the campaign against air pollution, owners of affected vehicles have been made by the errant carmakers into unwitting pollution contributors.
After VW, other carmakers started getting implicated in the diesel emissions scandal, including Mercedes, Renault, and BMW. Authorities have asked them to pay fines, deal with settlement fees, and recall affected vehicles so their engines could be corrected.
Some of the carmakers have also developed programs designed to protect the environment. Affected car owners are also expected to start legal action against their manufacturer.
BMW emission claims
If you have a BMW and believe it is equipped with a defeat device, you should hold your carmaker responsible for the alleged deception; for violating emissions regulations and for contributing to air pollution. The best way to do this is to bring forward a BMW emissions claim against the carmaker.
Before anything else, though, you need to verify if you are eligible to make a diesel claim. Visit the ClaimExperts.co.uk website if you want to start the claims process right.