SEVERAL Swindon drivers have grouped together to sue Mercedes over their role in the ‘dieselgate’ scandal.

The car manufacturer may have used defeat devices to avoid complying with the laws for diesel car emissions, which has affected vehicles made between 2008 and 2018 which went on to be sold new and second-hand.

Thomas Saunders, Steve Jones and Simon Thomas are working with national consumer rights law firm Slater and Gordon to file the lawsuit. It is estimated that 600,000 vehicles in the UK may have been affected, with a potential one million individuals able to make a claim valued at up to £10,000 each.

After news of the emissions scandal broke, Mercedes recalled vehicles to add a software update which made the vehicles comply with emissions regulations.

But a survey of Slater and Gordon’s claimants found that 25 per cent of those who have had the ‘fix’ then experienced reliability issues with their car after it was applied, around 32 per cent lost confidence in their car’s reliability, and 15 per cent believe their car has become less safe.

More than three quarters of the surveyed motorists whose cars received the update feel that Mercedes were not transparent with them about potential issues that may arise because of the new software.

Thomas Saunders joined a group action litigation which is expected to include tens of thousands of customers working with legal experts to hold Mercedes to account for these alleged issues.

He said: “I was shocked to learn of Mercedes’ use of defeat devices in their diesel cars and am keen that all of us who have been let down by them should receive the compensation we are due.

“It was especially disappointing to see that Mercedes colluded with other car manufacturers to suppress technology that could have reduced the vehicles’ emissions and protected the environment.

“The scandal has tainted the experience of owning a premium brand product, showing a real lack of integrity on Mercedes’ part.”

Slater and Gordon currently represents around 14,000 claimants across the country and are joint lead solicitors in the Volkswagen diesel-gate claim. The claim is fully funded by Asertis, an independent litigation funder which allows people to seek compensation from Mercedes without risking their own money.

As well as the environmental and ethical reasons for the lawsuit, there is the possibility that owners have overpaid for a vehicle which doesn’t comply with emissions regulations and which may now need to be fixed. In some cases, the quick-fix implemented by Mercedes may have made the performance of the vehicles even worse.

Gareth Pope is the lawyer in charge of the claim at Slater and Gordon.

He said: “Our clients will allege that Mercedes knowingly installed unlawful defeat devices in hundreds of thousands of UK vehicles that allowed them to pass emissions tests designed to protect human health and the environment while still being highly polluting on the road.

“As a result, our clients will allege that they have been deceived into purchasing these polluting vehicles for more than they were worth.

“As part of the deception, our clients will also allege that Mercedes participated in a cartel with other German manufacturers, including Volkswagen, to suppress the development and implementation of cleaner emissions technology in order to maximise their profits.”

To check if a vehicle was impacted by the scandal, visit

In June 2018, Mercedes was found by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority to have installed cheating software in their diesel engines to avoid regulatory requirements and was forced to recall 774,000 vehicles in Europe. These defeat devices limited emissions during testing, under-representing the true emissions released on the road which resulted in Mercedes diesel engines not complying with regulations on nitrogen oxide emissions.

Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler, was fined €870m in September 2019 for negligent violation in relation to their avoidance of emissions regulations. Daimler has settled an investigation in the United States for a reported $1.5bn, as well as settling a class action case against them for $700m.

The KBA ordered Mercedes to recall approximately 90,000 affected vehicles in England and Wales, as well as Mercedes issuing voluntary recall notices. Despite all of this, Mercedes has expressed its intention to fight the claims launched in the United Kingdom, forcing UK customers to take Mercedes to court in an attempt to secure compensation.

In July, the European Commission found that Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen Group, which includes VW, Audi and Porsche, had breached antitrust rules by colluding to avoid further developments on lowering NOx emissions in diesel vehicles.

Over the course of five years, the manufacturers colluded to avoid competition on improving the technology beyond what is required by law despite the relevant technology being available.


MERCEDES disputed many of the claims made by motorists and the legal firm Slater and Gordon about their vehicles.

A spokesman said: "We consider the claims made against our company to be unfounded and will defend ourselves with the necessary legal means.

"We believe that the emissions control software used in our vehicles was and is both technically and legally justifiable.

"Mercedes-Benz is appealing against the administrative orders of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) and the courts will clarify the correct interpretation of relevant legal standards in this complex technical environment.

"In our view, the emission control functionalities objected to in the administrative orders by KBA are permissible and our vehicles are not subject to any impairment in terms of use or functional capability.

"As is well known, Daimler cooperated extensively with the European Commission as a leniency applicant at an early stage, and was therefore not fined.

"The European Commission explicitly found no evidence that there was any agreement regarding the use of prohibited defeat devices. The Commission made no findings on whether the diesel passenger cars sold during the relevant period met the regulatory requirements.

"As we see it, the investigation is not related to lawsuits brought by customers in Europe in connection with diesel.

"The essential points of our legal opinion have been confirmed by numerous rulings in the German regional and higher regional courts. The decisions are almost unanimously in our favour.

"According to our own statistics, complaints after diesel software updates are rare. The updates were approved by the German KBA after extensive testing. We can absolutely guarantee that these measures have no impact on the car’s safety."