Daimler Facing its Own Diesel Car Class-Action Lawsuit

Daimler is now facing a “defeat device” class-action lawsuit similar to what fellow German automaker Volkswagen has been struggling with recently.

Owners of Mercedes-Benz diesel cars have filed a new class-action lawsuit in a New Jersey federal district court. Law firm Hagens Berman, which had already filed a complaint in February and is now representing the Mercedes owners, said Mercedes BlueTEC is not performing well in real world tests. New tests have shown that diesel cars with the BlueTEC system produced nitrogen oxide emissions in virtually all road tests that were far higher than in controlled lab tests.

“The fact that Mercedes passed the dynamometer test in all tests, but failed the real world test, is suggestive that like VW, Mercedes is implementing a ‘defeat device’,” the filed complaint stated.

Daimler is denying charges made in the new lawsuit. “We consider this class action lawsuit to be unfounded. Our position remains unchanged: A component that inadmissibly reduces emissions is not used in Mercedes-Benz vehicles,” the automaker said in a statement.

The BlueTEC filter system has been well promoted by Daimler in recent years as a cleaner burning technology central to bringing diesel cars over to the U.S. market. It uses urea to help rid exhaust fumes of health threatening nitric oxides.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said at the time of the first lawsuit filing that it had requested information from Daimler, but it had not opened an official investigation.  If the EPA does become involved, it could lead to a recall for fix-it replacements or buybacks of the recalled cars.

Volkswagen has made its commitment to rolling out more plug-in hybrid electric vehicles part of its solution for the diesel car recall. Daimler could be in a similar position through reaffirming its hybrid initiative; that corporate initiative includes a hybrid setup that can easily transfer to different vehicle classes and powertrain variations including hybrid and plug-in hybrid models.