Leigh Day launches emissions group claim against Porsche
Claim includes allegations against Audi and other Volkswagen Group brand vehicles
Posted on 22 February 2021
Leigh Day law firm has expanded its legal claims campaign against motor manufacturers accused of fitting vehicles with devices to cheat emissions tests.
The firm is currently acting for thousands of UK drivers who claim their car had a cheat device on their vehicles, and is representing owners of Mercedes, Volkswagen, Nissan, and Renault vehicles.
Following on from an ongoing group action against the Volkswagen Group, in which Leigh Day are the joint lead solicitors, the firm is investigating a second group claim for alleged NOx emissions cheating against the manufacturer, this time including Porsche and Audi brand vehicles and in relation to a new group of engines.
The further allegations against the motor manufacturer follow the group action being brought on behalf of 90,000 Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Skoda diesel vehicle owners. The existing group action is restricted to vehicles fitted with EA189 engines and is set to head to trial in January 2023.
The new allegations against the manufacturer affect some Porsche Cayenne, Panamera and Macan diesel vehicles fitted with EA897, EA898 and 4.2l V8 engines. It is also believed that some 3.0l V6 and 4.2l V8 Audi diesel vehicles, as well as some Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial, SEAT and Skoda diesel vehicles fitted with EA288 and EA897, are affected. Investigations into the vehicles eligible to be included as part of the new claim are ongoing, but it is believed that in the region of 300,000 vehicles may be eligible to join the new group action.
It is alleged that the affected vehicles contain devices which turn off or turn down the vehicles’ emissions control systems from the settings used to pass regulatory emissions tests, resulting in the vehicles having emissions within regulation limits in those test conditions but with higher than permitted NOx emissions when being driven on the road.
In May 2019, Porsche was fined €535 million by German prosecutors for cheating diesel emissions tests after finding “negligent breaches of supervisory duties” at the company.
The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (the KBA) has also ordered the recall of some of the vehicles under investigation to remove “impermissible defeat devices”, “impermissible shut down devices” or “prohibited shut down devices”. It is also believed that vehicles with the relevant engines have other forms of defeat device, including “thermal windows”, which following a ruling last year by the European Court of Justice cannot be justified by the argument that they “contribute to preventing the ageing or clogging-up of the engine”.
Leigh Day is acting for affected vehicle owners on a no-win, no-fee basis. The firm has also obtained insurance to protect claimants from having to pay the defendants’ costs if the claim is unsuccessful.
Leigh Day solicitor Shazia Yamin is leading the new claim. She said:
“The group claim we are investigating relates to newer and larger models of diesel vehicles manufactured by the Volkswagen Group and includes Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Volkswagen commercial, as well as some SEAT and Skoda brand vehicles.
“This is the second group claim against the Volkswagen Group, and one of several emissions cases being investigated by Leigh Day. Emissions tests are there to serve a very important purpose: evidence shows NOx emissions are seriously harmful to human health and the environment. The allegation that manufacturers would deliberately cheat such tests and in doing so pollute our air with unlawful levels of NOx is incredibly serious and has implications not just for our clients but for everyone in the UK.
“We urge anyone who believes they may have a claim to go to the Leigh Day website and complete the form to check if they are eligible.”