Mercedes Benz faces class action lawsuit over emissions cheating allegations with BlueTEC diesel models

by Charles Miller

Less than six months after news of the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal became public, another German automaker has been accused of lying to consumers about the emissions levels of its “clean diesel” models. Mercedes Benz is facing a class action lawsuit filed in New Jersey over allegations that the company installed a software “defeat device” that allowed vehicles equipped with its BlueTEC diesel engines to emit high levels of pollution.

The allegations against Mercedes Benz are based in part on an interview published in the German newspaper Der Spiegel. During this interview, Mercedes admitted that it had designed its BlueTEC diesel models to shut-off their emissions control systems during cooler temperatures in order to protect the engine.

According to the lawsuit, Mercedes diesel models were programmed by the company to shut off their emissions controls when the vehicles were operated at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When the emissions controls on the Mercedes diesel models were shut off, the vehicles emitted levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) that were significantly higher than the maximum level allowed under U.S. federal law.

Even if Mercedes Benz is able to bring its BlueTEC diesel models into compliance with U.S. federal law, the lawsuit alleges that vehicle owners will suffer losses in the performance and value of these vehicles. The lawsuit asks for a court order requiring Mercedes to recall the BlueTEC diesel vehicles equipped with the software defeat device and replace the affected models for any consumer who purchased their automobile as of this month.

The Mercedes class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of consumers who purchased one of the company’s diesel models equipped with a BlueTEC engine. Mercedes Benz diesel models involved in the lawsuit include the Mercedes E 320, E Class, GL 320, GL Class, GLE Class, GLK Class, ML 320, ML 350, ML Class, R320, R Class, S 350, S Class, and Sprinter.

Mercedes Benz Accused of Diesel Emissions Cheating

Independent testing on the Mercedes diesel models performed in Europe found that the vehicles emitted NOx levels that were an average of 19-times higher than the maximum level allowed by the EPA under the Clean Air Act. Researchers found that, in some cases, Mercedes diesel models emitted NOx levels as high as 65-times greater than EPA limits. The lawsuit alleges that Mercedes failed to inform consumers that their diesel-powered vehicles were “clean diesel” during warmer temperatures, but emitted illegal pollution levels during colder weather.

A spokesperson for the independent agency that conducted the Mercedes emissions testing said that it is normal for the real world performance of emissions systems to differ from their performance under laboratory conditions. However, the agency said that the high level of pollution emitted by the Mercedes diesel models fell well outside the normal range of differences between real world and laboratory emissions levels.

Mercedes Benz’s parent company, Daimler AG, recently announced that it would spend $3 billion to update the emissions control systems on many of its diesel-powered models. It is currently unclear whether the company’s decision was related to the emissions problems involved in the diesel lawsuit filed against Mercedes.

Mercedes Benz Diesel Owners May Qualify to File a Lawsuit

Consumers who purchased one of the Mercedes Benz diesel models equipped with the BlueTEC engine may be able to file a lawsuit against the company and recover damages for the value of the vehicle. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with a law firm that has the knowledge and experience at handling consumer fraud and product liability cases to achieve the best possible result in your case.

If you purchased a diesel-powered vehicle manufactured by Mercedes Benz, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson to learn more about your legal rights. For a free legal consultation to learn more about whether you may qualify to file a lawsuit, please call us 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 to get started.


Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Results of other cases do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.

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by Charles Miller

Charles Miller is a licensed attorney and a partner at Heygood, Orr & Pearson. Charles focuses his practice on areas of complex commercial litigation and personal injury litigation.