Over the last 20 years, automakers in Europe have increased their production of diesel-powered vehicles as a way to deliver high performance while satisfying emissions regulations. However, a recent string of emissions scandals involving diesel vehicles and plunging sales of these cars has led many automakers to reconsider their support for diesel technology.
The popularity of diesel-powered vehicles in Europe began to take-off in the 1990s, when new technological advances allowed automakers to produce high-performance diesel cars that were more environmentally-friendly than older diesel models. Following the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, European governments began spending billions in subsidies on diesel cars as a way to meet emissions targets mandated by new environmental laws.
Despite a 2012 report by the World Health Organization linking diesel exhaust fumes to an increased cancer risk, the popularity of diesel cars in Europe continued to rise. By 2015, diesel vehicles controlled half of the market for new vehicles in Europe.
Diesel Sales Plummet in the Wake of VW Emissions Scandal
In September 2015, reports emerged that Volkswagen had installed emissions defeat devices on 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide. Subsequent investigations revealed that other automakers – including Audi, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes Benz, and Porsche – may also have engaged in emissions cheating on their diesel-powered vehicles.
Following the news of the Volkswagen Dieselgate emissions scandal, sales of diesel-powered vehicles in Europe plummeted. In 2017, sales of diesel models fell by 17% in the UK and by 15% in Germany. For the first time since 1999, sales of gasoline-powered vehicles were higher than diesel models.
Part of the reason for the drop in diesel sales is the threat of tougher new environmental regulations for these vehicles. With many European regulators considering a ban on diesel models, drivers do not want to get stuck with a car that these will be unable to drive or sell a few year down the road. Although automakers in Europe have begun taking steps to retrofit their diesel-powered cars and increase their production of electric cars to comply with emissions laws, many regulators are still calling for a ban on diesel vehicles.
Manufacturers of diesel-powered cars are also facing a number of lawsuits filed on behalf of consumers who purchased or leased one of these vehicles. In July 2016, Volkswagen agreed to pay $14.7 billion to settle lawsuits filed in the US over the Dieselgate scandal. Other diesel automakers – including Audi, Chrysler, and GM – are also facing lawsuits in the US over allegations of emissions cheating on diesel vehicles.
Diesel Emissions Cheating Lawsuits Filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson
Consumers who own or lease a diesel-powered vehicle sold by Audi, Chrysler, GM, or Volkswagen involved in allegations of emissions cheating may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of their vehicle. The first step in taking legal actions is to speak with an experienced attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and guide you through the first steps in filing a claim.
The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have filed emissions cheating lawsuit on behalf of diesel owners across the US. One of our partners, Michael Heygood, was a member of the Plaintiffs Steering Committee that helped to negotiate the $14.7 billion Dieselgate settlement with Volkswagen. Our attorneys have also filed diesel emissions cheating lawsuits on behalf of Audi, Chrysler, and GM diesel owners.
For more information about the emissions cheating lawsuits filed by Heygood, Orr & Pearson and to find out whether you may qualify to file a case, contact our office by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions about your vehicle to get started.