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Leigh Day emissions claims against motor manufacturers expanded to include Vauxhall

Leigh Day law firm has stepped up its legal claims campaign against motor manufacturers accused of fitting vehicles with devices to cheat emissions tests.

Posted on 01 March 2021

The firm, that is acting for 30,000 UK drivers who claim their car had a cheat device on their vehicles, is currently representing owners of Mercedes, Volkswagen, Nissan, Renault and Porsche vehicles.

It has now expanded the claims to include Vauxhall vehicles. Lawyers believe owners or lessors of affected vehicles could be entitled to 75 per cent of the amount they paid to own or use the vehicle in compensation for the fitting of illegal software that cheats pollution emissions tests.

Despite a vehicle recall in Germany there has still not been a recall in the UK. As a result, there are tens of thousands of unlawfully polluting vehicles still on the roads in the UK. Increased levels of nitrogen oxide emissions are harmful to the environment and to the health of children and adults. In particular, exposure to NOx emissions can cause inflammation of the airways and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections and to allergens and can exacerbate the symptoms of those already suffering from lung or heart conditions.

The recall ordered in October 2018 was for 100,000 Opel brand diesel models after some were found to contain engine software devices that gave false emissions readings during vehicle emissions testing. The same models are sold in the UK under the Vauxhall brand.

The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) found that the effectiveness of the vehicles’ built-in systems for reducing nitrogen oxides in exhaust gases is reduced in outside temperatures below 17°C. These so-called ‘thermal window’ cheat devices emit more nitrogen oxides in normal driving conditions than permitted under EU law.

The vehicle models affected by the recall in Germany are Opel Zafira 1.6 and 2.0 CDTi, Opel Cascada 2.0 CDTi and Opel Insignia 2.0 CDTi from 2013 to 2016, although other models may also be affected.

Last year the European Court of Justice ruled that diesel emission defeat devices cannot be justified by the argument that they “contribute to preventing the ageing or clogging-up of the engine”.

Car manufacturers had admitted that engine control units were programmed to shut off at certain temperatures, but said such practices were fully compliant with the law.

The Leigh Day claim is being run on a no win-no fee basis.

Leigh Day solicitor Ben Croft is heading up the group claim against Vauxhall. He said:

“We believe thousands of Vauxhall vehicle owners were sold models that are affected by the cheat device software. For several years they could have been driving cars on UK roads, believing that the emissions they release are far lower than is actually the case.

“We urge owners of Vauxhall models to go to the Leigh Day website and find out if they have a claim.”

Vauxhall emissions claim

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Ben Croft
Corporate accountability

Benjamin Croft

Benjamin Croft is an associate solicitor in the employment department.

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Car exhaust fumes

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