German consumer group files diesel emissions lawsuit against Daimler

Germany’s largest consumer protection group filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against car maker Daimler that it said would make it easier for Mercedes owners to gain redress over a diesel emissions scandal.

The lawsuit, filed by the VZBV at a regional court in Stuttgart, seeks to set a precedent that would enable owners of Mercedes GLC and GLK cars to gain compensation over software that was allegedly used to trick emissions tests.

“Those who may have been affected will obtain certainty over whether Daimler AG deliberately installed illegal defeat devices in several vehicle models,” VZBV chief Klaus Mueller said in a statement.

“Despite official recalls, Daimler AG to this day denies it deliberately manipulated the emissions of its cars. The Stuttgart regional court should declare this. That would bring legal clarity for many consumers who have been affected.”

Daimler said it considered emissions litigation against it to be baseless and would contest the case brought by the VZBV.

The VZBV estimates that a total of 254,000 Mercedes vehicles were recalled in Germany. Its so-called Musterfeststellungsklage – or Model Declaratory Action – covers nearly 50,000 Mercedes GLC and GLK models.

The recall was ordered in 2018 and the VZBV said it was filing its case before Daimler’s potential legal liability expires after a three-year period has elapsed.

Daimler has not admitted wrongdoing in the matter, which is part of the wider ‘Dieselgate’ emissions scandal that has cost rival Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) more than 32 billion euros ($38 billion) in vehicle refits, fines and legal costs.