Over a Million UK Vauxhall Drivers Might Be Owed Compensation for Diesel Lies

A law firm in London claimed that between the years 2009 and 2019, around 600,000 Vauxhall vehicles were equipped with devices used to cheat regulatory emissions tests. If the allegations are proven true, each affected driver could receive as much as £2,500 as compensation. Approximately one million car owners of Zafira, Corsa, and Astra diesel vehicles are expected to get the payout.

According to lawyers, the carmaker installed the devices so their vehicles would pass the emissions tests. As a result, Vauxhall mis-sold the cars and lied to their customers since the defeat devices hid the real levels of toxic gas emitted each time they are out on the road. As such, the vehicles were high pollutants, a fact that was hidden from the drivers.

Despite the fact that Vauxhall has denied the allegations of using cheat devices, law firms are already busy preparing claims against Vauxhall on behalf of their affected customers. They were expected to come up with a GLO or Group Litigation, which is similar to the United States’ class-action lawsuits. A law firm has also created a campaign intended to help affected car owners.

Vauxhall is one of the carmakers implicated in the diesel emissions scandal that started in 2015 – the Volkswagen Dieselgate scam.

The 2015 Dieselgate scandal

In 2015, the Volkswagen Group received a notice from US authorities informing them of the discovery of defeat devices in Audi and VW vehicles being sold in the American automobile market. The carmaker initially denied the allegations but admitted later that they knowingly fitted their vehicles with the cheat devices.

A defeat device knows when a vehicle is in regulatory emissions testing at the lab. Once the test begins, the device automatically – albeit temporarily – lowers emissions to within the World Health Organization’s (WHO) mandated levels. So, to authorities, the vehicle is fuel-efficient and therefore, safe for the environment and human health. To them, the vehicle appears to follow emissions regulations.

When the vehicle is brought out and driven on real roads, it switches back to its default settings. So, it emits extra high volumes of nitrogen oxides or NOx, a dangerous pollutant. What this means is that affected car owners have been driving around London in vehicles that have contributed to air pollution.

The Volkswagen Group revealed that around 11 million vehicles were fitted with the defeat device, and 1.2 million of these were owned by UK drivers.

After the VW Group was implicated in the Dieselgate scandal, authorities started to look at other vehicle manufacturers. A couple of years after the Volkswagen diesel emissions scam, US authorities were on the move once again as they focused on another German carmaker, Mercedes-Benz. Other carmakers followed, including BMW, Renault, and Peugeot.

In 2018, Opel, Vauxhall’s sister company, was thrust into the spotlight after the KBA or the Germany Federal Motor Transport Authority issued a mandatory recall of their vehicles in relation to allegations that these were equipped with defeat devices. Authorities accused Opel of violating emissions regulations on Cascada 2.0 CDTI, Insignia 2.0 CDTI, and Zafira 1.6 models manufactured between the years 2012 and 2016. This led to the recall of about 96,000 Opel vehicles around the world.

Three years later, in 2021, authorities finally caught up with Vauxhall after they accused the carmaker of fitting their diesel-powered vehicles with illegal defeat devices. It is alleged that over one million drivers in the UK are affected by the scandal. Vauxhall vehicles that were reportedly found using the cheat device include:

  • Astra
  • Antara
  • Agila
  • Crossland
  • Corsa
  • Combo
  • Mokka
  • Meriva
  • Movano
  • Insignia
  • Zafira
  • Vivaro

Since the Vauxhall emissions scandal is still relatively new, more models are expected to be added to the list.

What is NOx or nitrogen oxide’s role in the scandal?

NOx or nitrogen oxide is the highly reactive and toxic gas released by diesel-powered vehicles, such as the ones involved in the Vauxhall diesel emissions scandal. It is a group of gases that has nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) as primary components.

When it reacts with other chemicals, NOx produces various pollutants. Acid rain, smog, and ground-level ozone are all formed using NOx. Plants, crops, and other vegetation become weaker when exposed to ground-level ozone, making them vulnerable to damage and frost.

What makes NOx emissions dangerous, however, are their impacts on a person’s mental and overall health. It can trigger depression, anxiety, and other mental health-related issues. Exposure to NOx emissions may also weaken an individual’s cognitive abilities, thereby making them more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

The Vauxhall emissions scandal is life-changing because of what NOx emissions can do to a person’s health. If the exposure is low-level, health impacts can include asthma, fluid in the lungs, bronchitis and other respiratory issues. High-level exposure often led to asphyxiation, vocal cord spasms (also known as laryngospasm), cardiovascular diseases, and premature death.

Making a diesel claim

These impacts and Vauxhall’s alleged mis-selling are the reasons why law firms and authorities are urging affected car owners to bring a diesel emissions claim against the carmaker.

If you believe your Vauxhall vehicle has a defeat device, you need to have your eligibility verified first. Visit the Emissions.co.uk website to formally start the process.

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