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Mercedes agrees 1.5 billion dollar settlement in US

Mercedes parent company Daimler AG has agreed a 1.5 billion USD settlement with United States authorities over the cheat device emissions scandal which has unfolded across the Atlantic.

Posted on 15 September 2020

The United States Department of Justice has announced that Daimler will have to set up a recall and repair program to remove all defeat devices from the affected vehicles at no cost to consumers and bring the vehicles into compliance with applicable emissions standards under the US Clean Air Act.  Affected Mercedes vehicles will be given a software update and replacement of select hardware. 

The statement adds:

“Daimler must repair at least 85 per cent of the affected passenger cars within two years and at least 85 per cent of the affected vans within three years.  The company must also offer an extended warranty covering all updated software and hardware, and it must test repaired vehicles each year for the next five years to ensure the vehicles continue to meet emissions standards over time.  Daimler will face stiff penalties if any category of updated vehicles fails to meet applicable emissions standards or if it fails to meet the 85 per cent recall rate for passenger cars or vans.”  

The 1.5 billion dollar settlement comprises 875,000,000 USD in civil penalties, some 70,300,000 USD in other penalties, 100,000,000 USD for ‘mitigation projects’ in California and 436,000,000 USD to pay for the recall programme and mitigation projects across other states.

The settlement follows civil claims filed in the District of Columbia by the US and California Air Resources Board which alleged that from 2009 to 2016 Daimler manufactured, imported, and sold more than 250,000 diesel Sprinter vans and passenger cars with defeat devices programmed into the vehicles’ emissions control software.  
The settlement has been greeted with interest by the Leigh Day team which is putting together a similar claim on behalf of thousands of Mercedes vehicle owners in the UK.

Leigh Day solicitor Shazia Yamin said:

“This settlement bodes well for our many clients who have been similarly affected by the purchase of Mercedes vehicles which have been found to have been fitted with illegal devices which give a false emission reading.

“As has been established in the US, these devices allow affected Mercedes vehicles to produce compliant results during emissions testing, but in normal day-today usage, the vehicles emit nitrogen oxide at levels which cause climate-change pollution and are a risk to health.

“We are encouraged by this settlement and look forward to achieving a good result for Mercedes drivers who have joined our group claim in the UK. Of course, there is still time for other Mercedes drivers who believe their cars may have been similarly affected, to join the claim.”