BMW among Manufacturers Accused of Diesel Emissions Tampering

German carmaker BMW is one of the manufacturers that allegedly used illegal defeat devices to tamper with emissions tests. Drivers who have had to endure the dangers and inconveniences of a non-emissions-compliant vehicle are encouraged to claim compensation.

The allegations stem from the Dieselgate scandal in 2015, where the Volkswagen Group was accused of installing defeat devices in Audi and VW vehicles that were sold in the US. The devices were used to manipulate emissions so the vehicles would easily pass regulation testing. The devices hid real emissions.

Authorities ordered a recall of the hundreds of thousands of affected Audis and VWs. The Volkswagen Group also had to pay fines and fees. Over the years, they have spent billions in payoffs, including compensation for affected drivers. 

Lawyers who represented thousands of affected car owners were officially given a GLO or group litigation order so all diesel claims are now grouped together and heard as one case in 2018. Two years later, the High Court came out with the decision that Volkswagen did use a defeat device in VW’s EA189, which powered Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda, and Audi diesel vehicles.

Now, the authorities have accused BMW of allegedly using the same devices on some of their vehicles. 

The BMW diesel emissions scandal

Before BMW dealt with diesel claims, the carmaker was implicated in a cartel along with fellow German manufacturers Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler and Volkswagen. Five carmakers were specifically accused of colluding to limit or delay the use of new technology developed for cleaning emissions – Porsche, Audi, Daimler, VW, and BMW.

In 2021, the European Commission ordered the carmakers to pay a collective fine of $1 billion (or over £830 million). Daimler escaped from paying any penalties because they revealed the presence of the cartel.

Three years before the cartel was exposed, BMW was the subject of allegations of using defeat devices to manipulate regulatory tests and hide real emissions. According to authorities, the carmaker partnered with Robert Bosch GmbH and LLC in producing the defeat devices. BMW denied the KBA’s (German Federal Motor Transport Authority) accusations.

Nevertheless, the carmaker obliged with the recall order and took back over 11,000 affected BMW vehicles. 

BMW emission claims are still ongoing with law firms encouraging affected drivers to join the GLO. 

What do defeat devices do?

A defeat device is cheat software that hides real emissions. Carmakers use it so their vehicles can easily pass regulatory testing that’s required before selling (and before a car can be driven on real roads).

Once the device is installed, it can sense when the vehicle is in the lab for emissions tests. As such, it automatically lowers emissions to levels that are within the limits of the World Health Organization (WHO) giving the regulators a vehicle that complies with emissions standards and is therefore safe for driving. 

However, this only happens during testing conditions because once the vehicle is driven on real-world roads, it releases voluminous amounts of nitrogen oxide or NOx, a group of highly reactive gases that endangers the environment and human health.

Every vehicle equipped with a defeat device is a pollutant. BMW, Volkswagen, and all the other carmakers that allegedly used the cheat software are guilty of lying to their customers and mis-selling a pollutant as a high-performing, emissions-compliant vehicle. 

The carmakers should also be held responsible for exposing affected drivers and the people around them to the life-threatening effects of NOx emissions.

What is NOx and why it is dangerous?

Nitrogen dioxide or NO2 and NO or nitric oxide are the main components of NOx emissions. These gases are known to have adverse effects on both the environment and a person’s health. 

When NOx reacts with other elements, it produces a pollutant called ground-level ozone. It also contributes to the formation of smog and acid rain. All three have negative effects on the environment and also affect human health. Ground-level ozone, for example, can weaken and destroy vegetation such as plants and crops.

If a person is exposed to NOx emissions, the following health impacts can hound them for the rest of their life:

  • Depression, anxiety, and other mental health-related conditions
  • Dementia due to declining cognitive abilities
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and emphysema
  • COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Breathing problems
  • Asphyxiation and vocal cords spasm
  • Pulmonary edema (fluid build-up in the lungs)
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Premature death

These health impacts are life-changing and life-threatening. Thus, authorities believe that affected car owners or drivers have the right to bring their carmaker to court for an emissions claim. If a claim is successful, carmakers will pay a particular amount to compensate the affected drivers. The compensation amount depends on the circumstances of the diesel emissions case.

When should I file my diesel claim?

Not all BMW diesel vehicles are equipped with defeat devices. So, you need to verify first if you are eligible to receive compensation. It’s a one-step process as all you have to do is visit and go through all the information you will find about eligibility, as well as how to go about your BMW emissions claim

Once you’re done, find an emissions expert who can help increase your chances of bringing forward a successful diesel claim.

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