Car makers face 1.2m payouts over emissions cheating claims, judges told

Car manufacturers are facing more than 1.2m compensation claims following allegations that “defeat devices” were fitted to diesel vehicles to get around emissions tests, judges have been told.

Four judges overseeing a preliminary High Court hearing in London today heard that Mercedes-Benz was facing around 350,000 claims – and that manufacturers including Opel, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Volvo, Hyundai, Toyota and Mazda were also among defendants in a “group” legal action.

Motorists are suing the car makers for allegedly deceiving them over emissions standards, which – they argue – has resulted in knocking thousands off the value of their cars. Lawyers said in April that the claims against Mercedes alone, if successful, could be worth as much as £3bn.

A barrister representing some claimants told judges that the litigation involved 1.25 million claimants and about 1,500 defendants, once dealerships were included.

The legal action follows the “dieselgate” scandal uncovered in 2015 in which it first emerged that Volkswagen had installed software designed to deceive official testing, reducing polluting NOx emissions in laboratory conditions that were not matched by real world driving.

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