Vauxhall has rejected allegations that it cheated vehicle emissions tests in response to threats of legal action claiming that up to a million car owners could be liable for compensation due to mis-selling.
Law firms Milberg London LLP and PGMBM are both now attempting to attract owners to legal bids targeting recompense, similar to those targeting Volkswagen Group, Mercedes-Benz and the FCA Group, after alleging that the OEM employed defeat devices to manipulate EU emissions tests.
Both firms are urging motorists who purchased or leased Vauxhall cars between 2009 and 2019 to get in touch, with Milberg marketing its bid for compensation as the Vauxhall Pay Up Campaign.
But Groupe PSA-owned Vauxhall told AM that it is confident of its position in relation to emissions tests compliance.
A spokesman said: “Vauxhall Motors is not aware of any such claim and rejects any accusation of using illegal defeat devices. Our vehicles meet the applicable regulations.”
This week a Spanish court ordered German carmaker Volkswagen to pay €16.3 million euros (£14.4m) in compensation to people in Spain who bought cars with emissions-cheating devices installed, Reuters reported.
Following a five-year legal battle, a Madrid court found VW had engaged in anti-competitive business practices and ordered the carmaker to pay €3,000 (£2,649) compensation to each affected member of the OCU consumer group that brought the claim.
VW has said that it will appeal the Spanish ruling.
Setting out plans for its proposed claim against Vauxhall in the UK, Milberg London has alleged that the brand installed an emission ‘defeat device’ on 600,000 vehicles to cheat tests and has told individual claimants joining its legal bid that they will pay no costs if they lose.
It said that its Vauxhall Pay Up investigations cites evidence from regulators and academic studies in the UK and across Europe, and forensic analysis carried out by a global expert in the field, which suggests Vauxhall installed defeat devices in their cars.
Edward Cardington, Partner at Milberg London LLP and lead lawyer for the Vauxhall Pay Up Campaign, said: “The Vauxhall Pay Up campaign has set out to prove that Vauxhall cheated both the emissions tests and hardworking British drivers.
“Motorists were promised a combination of low environmental impact and high driving performance that appears to have been impossible in real driving conditions.
“Put simply, clean diesel looks like a myth and Vauxhall’s cars did not provide the performance drivers paid for.
“Anyone who bought a Vauxhall between 2009 and 2019 could be due compensation.”
The Vauxhall Pay Up campaign suggests that a claim under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations could see customers who were sold products with misleading information receive anything between 25% and 75% of the cost of the product they purchased in compensation.
PGMBM has told potential claimants that they could gain up to £20,000 in compensation, stating that it intends to apply for a Group Litigation Order (GLO), which allows individual claims to be progressed together and be treated as one by the courts.
It cited a report by the European Federation for Transport and Environment ranked Vauxhall (Opel) engines as among the worst in Europe for excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
Based on the testing of the company’s Euro 6 diesel engines, it was found that in real driving conditions the engines produced 10 times more harmful NOx than legal limits allow.
PGMBM managing partner, Tom Goodhead, said: “We believe that there are grounds to suspect Vauxhall have orchestrated a mass deception of the public, mis-selling vehicles that not only fail to meet the specifications, but risk damage to the environment and our collective health.”