Though Volkswagen has managed to steal the spotlight for the past several months after news of its emissions-cheating software was revealed, it may have to share the stage as a recent class action suit levels similar charges against another automaker. Now it's Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz, that will need to address allegations that it too created software to cheat emissions test and allow its vehicles to pollute at unacceptably high rates.
A class action lawsuit was filed against Daimler this past week arguing that Daimler's U.S. Mercedes-Benz unit produced engines that contain devices aimed at bypassing emissions regulations. Specifically, the software is installed in diesel engines, the same as those at issue in the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal.
The lawsuit here began with a car owner from Illinois who believes that his Mercedes uses a device that allows it to emit more pollutants than is legally allowed. The cheat is alleged to work only in certain cases, for example, by allowing pollutants to be emitted at higher levels when the temperature outside is colder.
The lawsuit bases its claims on two things: one is an article by a major German publication, Der Spiegel, which mentioned similar allegations of emissions cheating. The other was a study conducted by an independent research organization, which allegedly identified the offending software. The class action demands that the court either order a recall to repair the offending devices or offer free replacement cars, a seriously expensive proposition.
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