British vehicle manufacturer Vauxhall, headquartered in England, became the latest addition to the list of carmakers in the diesel emissions scandal. At about the same time the company became a subsidiary of Stellantis, in January 2021, the carmaker faced allegations indicating the use of cheat devices for emissions testing of some of their diesel vehicles.
Known for its reliability and considered one of the UK’s longest-serving car brands, Vauxhall’s involvement in the Dieselgate scandal, the biggest scam to ever happen in the global automotive industry, has been surprising. Then again, even the world’s most popular car brands are allegedly involved in the scandal.
According to authorities, Vauxhall allegedly sold around 600,000 diesel vehicles that were fitted with defeat devices, which are used to cheat emissions testing and make cars appear emissions-compliant even when they emitted high levels of toxic air. Affected models are vehicles that were manufactured between the years 2009 and 2019:
Although Vauxhall representatives deny the allegations, affected car owners have already been talking with their legal representatives. A GLO or group litigation order, which is similar to the class-action lawsuit of Americans, is being prepared against the carmaker.
If the claims case is successful, each claimant can get around £2,500.
The Vauxhall emissions issue is one of the many offshoots of the 2015 Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal in September 2015. US authorities sent a notice of violation to the Volkswagen Group for the alleged use of defeat devices in Audi and VW vehicles sold in the American market. VW recalled thousands of affected vehicles. To date, the carmaker has spent billions in fines, fees, and compensation.
There is a long list of carmakers that are possibly involved in the scandal, including Vauxhall, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.
What’s a defeat device for?
The main issue of the diesel emissions scandal is the carmakers’ alleged use of defeat devices.
A defeat device senses when a vehicle goes into the lab for testing and once it does, it temporarily lowers emissions levels to within the World Health Organization’s (WHO) legal limits. This makes the vehicle appear emissions-compliant and ready for selling and driving.
In reality, though, the vehicle’s excellent performance is good only during testing. Once it is brought out on real roads and driven, it releases excessive amounts of nitrogen oxide or NOx emissions, often at 40 times over the EU and WHO limits. NOx has damaging effects on the environment and human health.
As such, VW and the other carmakers involved in the diesel emissions scandal lied to their customers. They mis-sold their diesel vehicles as clean, safe, and high-performing. Customers did not know that they purchased non-emissions-compliant vehicles that contributed to air pollution.
What does nitrogen oxide do?
Nitrogen oxide is a reactive group of gases. It has nitric oxide or NO and nitrogen dioxide or NO2. When it mixes or reacts with other gases or elements, it forms acid rain and smog, two of the most common signs of toxic air.
NOx also produces a pollutant called ground-level ozone, which can weaken and damage crops, plants, and other forms of vegetation.
If you are constantly exposed to nitrogen oxide, you’ll probably notice several changes in your general health.
First off, even if you’ve never had bouts of anxiety and depression before, you may experience them come and go after getting exposed to NOx.
You’ll also notice that your cognitive abilities have weakened and this increases your chances of developing dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease.
What you have to watch out for, though, are these life-changing health impacts:
- Pulmonary oedema (or fluid build-up in the lungs)
- Vocal cords spasm
- Breathing problems
- Bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory issues
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Premature death
Cases of premature death linked to air pollution are rampant around the world. In Europe, there are around 400,000 early deaths due to poor air quality each year. According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), the numbers are on a decline but still relatively high. The 2020 EEA report indicated 238,000 premature deaths linked to air pollution that year. Nevertheless, the decrease was due to COVID-19 restrictions, which were in full force in 2020. EU data recorded in 2019 reflected higher numbers of premature deaths pre-pandemic.
What is my diesel claim about?
The abovementioned health impacts and your carmaker’s mis-selling are two of the biggest reasons why authorities believe they should be held liable for the negative impacts of defeat devices. Bring your carmaker to court and file a diesel claim. If you win, you’ll be compensated for the inconveniences and dangers you were exposed to.
Technically, you do not need to submit any documents when you file an emission claim. However, you may have to submit some later on – i.e., your vehicle’s purchase invoice, registration, and other similar papers. It can be a long and tedious process, but working with emissions experts will help ease your burden. Joining a GLO for your Vauxhall emissions claim will also be a big help.
Before you start your claim, though, make sure that you’ve visited Emissions.co.uk so you can verify your eligibility to bring your carmaker to court. They’ll have all the information you need, so once you’re done there, everything else will fall into place.