Could Vauxhall Diesel Owners be Owed Thousands?

UK-based carmaker Vauxhall is in the hot seat after authorities alleged that around 600,000 of the carmaker’s diesel-powered vehicles are equipped with defeat devices intended to cheat emissions tests.

Zafira, Corsa, Astra, and other family models that were purchased between the years 2009 and 2019 are possibly affected, including new, leased, and used Vauxhall vehicles. Approximately one million car owners may be entitled to receive compensation equivalent to around £2,500 each.

Legal representatives for the car owners are preparing to file a group litigation order (GLO), which is like a class-action lawsuit in the US. It is expected to attract a lot of attention as it is poised to become a major damage claim against a UK-based carmaker.

According to authorities, Vauxhall marketed and sold the vehicles as high-performing and environmentally friendly even if their performance in real-world road conditions were the exact opposite. As such, customers felt they were lied to as they did not get the product that they paid for.

A Vauxhall representative denied the allegations but the GLO is pushing through with support from various pieces of evidence provided by expert forensic analysis, Europe and UK-based academic studies, and qualified regulators.

Lawyers have set up a campaign to help affected customers and to find more who bought the vehicles but do not know yet or have no idea about the diesel emissions scandal. If the GLO is successful, each car owner can receive compensation from anywhere between 25 and 75% of their vehicle’s purchase price.

What’s the diesel emissions scandal about?

Popularly known as the Dieselgate scandal, the diesel emissions fiasco involved the United States authorities and the Volkswagen Group, the former having discovered defeat devices in Audi and VW diesel vehicles sold in the American market. Customers were made to believe that the vehicles passed emissions testing even if – allegedly – performance during testing and on the road wildly deviated from each other.

The defeat devices in VW and Audi vehicles sense when the cars are in the lab for testing and once this happens, they immediately and artificially reduce emissions to within the regulated limits of the World Health Organization (WHO). This means the vehicles appear environmentally safe and emissions-compliant. As such, they are ready for selling and driving.

However, this is only good during testing because as soon as the vehicle is driven outside laboratory conditions, it starts to emit massive amounts of nitrogen oxide or NOx, a dangerous gas that can potentially destroy the environment and end lives.

The California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent a notice of violation to the Volkswagen Group and ordered the carmaker to recall the thousands of affected vehicles. The German manufacturer has also spent billions paying off fines, settlement fees, and compensation.

Compared to the Volkswagen claim, the Vauxhall emissions claim is fairly new. While thousands of affected car owners have already joined group legal action, many have yet to know and understand what happened and how they can get back what Vauxhall owes them.

Other manufacturers that are potentially involved in the Dieselgate scandal are BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Renault. Diesel-powered vehicles manufactured by Ford, Volvo, Peugeot, and Citroën are also allegedly fitted with illegal defeat devices.

Why are defeat devices unlawful?

Defeat devices are illegal because:

  • They hide real emissions
  • They bypass, disable, or manipulate emissions controls
  • They allow diesel vehicles with high emission levels to be driven on real roads
  • They expose people to extremely dangerous nitrogen oxides

Nitrogen oxide has adverse impacts on the environment. With components such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO), NOx helps form smog and acid rain, both significant contributors to air pollution. NOx also produces a pollutant called ground-level ozone, which can weaken and damage vegetation.

NOx emissions exposure causes a variety of health impacts, including depression and anxiety, dementia (due to reduced cognitive abilities), asthma and other respiratory diseases, and breathing difficulties. High-level exposure may lead to serious health conditions, such as lung cancer, asphyxiation and vocal cords spasms, cardiovascular diseases, and premature death.

Authorities and carmakers are aware that air pollution is now the leading cause of early deaths globally. The UK made the headlines in 2013 after the death of schoolgirl Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, who was exposed to high levels of air pollution in their area of residence, London’s South Circular Road. After an inquest, the coroner formally announced in December 2020 that the nine-year-old’s death was primarily caused by air pollution.

Ella’s mother, Rosamund, has since become an active campaigner for air pollution awareness. She has campaigned for stricter programs and implementation of air quality control policies and supports the emissions-free goals of the government.

In the same manner, authorities urge affected car owners to hold their carmakers responsible for the inconveniences resulting from the diesel emissions scandal. Bringing forward a diesel claim should be foremost in the priorities of drivers.

How should my diesel claim start?

If your vehicle has been underperforming and releases extremely high levels of NOx emissions, it may have a defeat device. Before you can file a diesel claim, though, you need to verify your eligibility first. Visit ClaimExperts.co.uk to get all the vital information and details that can help determine if your vehicle is affected.  Once you know you’re qualified, talk to an emissions expert so you’ll know how to start your diesel claim.

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