UK

Car makers face more than a million claims in wake of ‘dieselgate’, judges told

Four judges were overseeing the High Court hearing on Friday (PA)
Four judges were overseeing the High Court hearing on Friday (PA) Four judges were overseeing the High Court hearing on Friday (PA)

Car manufacturers are facing more than 1.2 million compensation claims following allegations that “defeat devices” were fitted to diesel vehicles to get round emissions tests, judges in London have been told.

Four judges overseeing a High Court hearing on Friday heard Mercedes-Benz was facing more than 300,000 claims – and that manufacturers including Opel, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Volvo, Hyundai, Toyota and Mazda were also among defendants in a “group” legal action.

Dame Victoria Sharp, Mrs Justice Cockerill, Mr Justice Constable and Senior Master Jeremy Cook are hearing legal arguments at a pre-trial hearing in Court 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London.

Judges are considering issues relating to the timetabling of further hearings.

A barrister representing some claimants told judges that there were about 1,500 defendants once dealerships were included.

Oliver Campbell KC said Mercedes was facing about 360,00 claims and suggested the Mercedes case could be the “lead” case.

He said the Mercedes case involved a “wide range” of “defeat devices”.

Mr Campbell suggested that evidence considered would relate to a “sample” number of vehicles.

He said judges would also have to consider issues relating to the “confidentiality” of manufacturers’ documents.

Mercedes-Benz are facing around 360,000 claims, the court heard (Alamy/PA) (Alamy Stock Photo)

The hearing is the latest stage in what lawyers have suggested will be the largest consumer group action brought before the English courts – and the latest legal development in the aftermath of the “dieselgate” emissions scandal.

In 2022, Volkswagen agreed to pay £193 million to more than 90,000 vehicle owners after it settled a group claim for compensation brought in the wake of emissions testing revelations about eight years ago.