A man from Watford is planning on suing German car giant Mercedes for its ‘role in the dieselgate scandal’.

This alleges that the vehicle manufacturer used defeat devices to avoid complying with the law regarding diesel car emissions.

In June 2018, the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) accused Mercedes of using cheating software in their diesel engines to avoid regulatory requirements.

The firm was forced to recall 774,000 vehicles across Europe.

In July, the European Commission found that Daimler - Mercedes' parent company - BMW and Volkswagen Group had breached antitrust rules by colluding to avoid further developments on lowering NOx emissions in diesel vehicles.

Mercedes considers the claims made against the company to be “unfounded”.

“We will defend ourselves with the necessary legal means,” a spokesperson said.

Watford local Terence Daly, who owned a Mercedes C300h, is working with national consumer rights law firm Slater and Gordon to bring a claim.

The claim is expected to become a group action litigation, with tens of thousands of affected consumers working together ‘to hold Mercedes to account’.

Mr Daly 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 Mercedes 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. It is particularly sad that an organisation that claims to have among the highest standards in the industry has acted in such a way."

Gareth Pope, the lawyer in charge of the claim at Slater and Gordon, added: “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.”

A Mercedes spokesman said: “Mercedes-Benz is appealing against the administrative orders of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, KBA). 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. Nonetheless, Mercedes-Benz has implemented the recall measures ordered by the KBA and undertaking voluntary measures for other Diesel-powered vehicles in order to reduce on average NOx emissions in real driving. Our vehicles continue to have valid registration from the relevant authorities.

“Our track record in Germany demonstrates our strong legal position. We see essential points of our legal opinion confirmed by the numerous rulings in the German regional and higher regional courts. The decisions are almost unanimously in our favour (in about 95% of the cases).

“The German Higher Regional Courts alone have issued more than 800 rulings in our favour and only two against the company.”

The spokesman added that The European Commission “explicitly found no evidence that there was any agreement regarding the use of prohibited defeat devices”.

He said: “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.”