In 2021, British carmaker Vauxhall was added to the list of manufacturers to be investigated for the use of cheat devices for emissions testing.
Authorities believe that Vauxhall sold around 600,000 diesel vehicles that were equipped with illegal defeat devices that are used to cheat on emissions testing and deceive regulators. As such, approximately one million drivers are each expected to receive an average of £2,500 in compensation.
Affected models are the Zafira, Corsa, and Astra diesel vehicles manufactured between the years 2009 and 2019. Most of these vehicles are family models. Whether the vehicle was purchased brand-new, leased, or pre-owned, affected drivers are still entitled to receive a payout.
Vauxhall, through its spokesperson, denied the allegations and stressed that their diesel vehicles follow emissions regulations. Lawyers, however, went on with their plan and even set up a campaign intended to help Vauxhall’s affected customers.
According to them, customers didn’t get what the carmaker promised – an environmentally friendly high-performing vehicle driven on real roads. Vauxhall’s diesel vehicles did not deliver the performance that their customers paid for and were promised.
Law firms are encouraging affected carmakers to join a GLO or group litigation order, which treats multiple cases as one, similar to the class-action lawsuits filed in the United States courts. The diesel claim includes forensic analysis, academic studies, and regulators’ evidence to support the case.
The Vauxhall emissions scandal is similar to the 2015 Dieselgate scam that involved the Volkswagen Group. After US authorities found defeat devices inside VW and Audi diesel vehicles that were sold to American consumers, the carmaker was ordered to recall hundreds of thousands of affected vehicles.
Volkswagen also had to spend around £26 billion on buyback schemes, compensation, fines, and fees. Other carmakers have also been implicated in the scandal, including popular brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Renault, and BMW.
Why are defeat devices illegal?
Vauxhall and the Volkswagen Group violated emissions regulations when they installed defeat devices in their diesel vehicles. A defeat device can sense when a vehicle is in the lab for testing and as soon as it does, it reduces emissions temporarily to levels that stay within the limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO). To regulators, the vehicle appears clean and safe. However, this is only good during testing conditions.
Once the vehicle is out of testing and driven on actual roads, it once again emits excessive amounts of nitrogen oxides or NOx.
NOx is a family of gases that has nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) as their main components. It plays an essential role in the formation of smog and acid rain. It also produces a pollutant called ground-level ozone, which has adverse effects on vegetation. This type of ozone weakens and eventually damages plants.
Nitrogen oxide can also affect your mental health. Once you are exposed to it, you can experience frequent episodes of depression or anxiety – even if you’ve never had one before.
Over the years, reports have also come out that show how exposure to NOx can impact your cognitive abilities. Once they are on a decline, you’ll become vulnerable to dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease.
The most devastating impacts of nitrogen oxide emissions, however, are on your health. Common effects include:
- Shortness of breath
- Fluid build-up in the lungs (or pulmonary oedema)
- Bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory illnesses
- Corroded teeth
If your NOx exposure is high-level, you may experience more serious impacts, such as:
- Lung function reduction (chronic)
- Spasm of the vocal cords (also known as laryngospasm)
- Certain cancers
- Asphyxia (deficient oxygen supply to the body)
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Early death
For several years now, air pollution has been identified as the leading cause of premature deaths around the world annually. It has overtaken and become more dangerous than cigarette smoking, drugs and alcohol, and HIV and AIDS.
In the UK, Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah’s death after a severe asthma attack in 2013 is the first case of premature death due to air pollution. The young girl had been living with her mother Rosamund in the South Circular Road area, one of the most polluted places in London. Before her death, Ella was in and out of the hospital for several months due to various respiratory-related issues. After an inquest, in December 2020, the coroner announced and confirmed air pollution as the official cause of the nine-year-old’s death.
To prevent similar incidents from happening, scandals like Dieselgate should not be allowed to happen again. Authorities believe there is enough evidence to hold carmakers responsible for their deceitful and dangerous actions. Affected car owners should work with emissions experts in bringing their carmakers to court through a diesel claim.
What should I do with my diesel claim?
Your diesel claim is the legal way for you to receive compensation from your carmaker for the inconveniences they caused you through the defeat device installed in your vehicle. For example, fuel efficiency and performance are often affected and this means additional costs for you.
However, not everyone is eligible to file an emission claim. So, before you start the claims process, you have to visit ClaimExperts.co.uk first and get all the information you need about your eligibility and the possibility of bringing a claim against your manufacturer.
Once you’re done, you can start the Vauxhall emissions claim with the help of an emissions expert.