The BMW Diesel Emissions Scandal Explained

Volkswagen: The scandal explained - BBC News

German carmaker BMW is one of the most popular brands in the world. Anytime they are in the news, they usually make considerable ripples in their target market. So, it is no wonder that their involvement in the Dieselgate scandal attracted a lot of attention.

The diesel emissions scandal broke in 2015 after US authorities found defeat devices inside Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles sold to customers in the American market. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board, the Volkswagen Group installed the devices to manipulate emissions levels during regulatory testing. 

Defeat devices can learn when a vehicle is in the lab for regulatory testing. The devices then tell the engine to bring down emission levels to within the safe limits of the World Health Organization (WHO). So, during testing, the vehicle is safe and emissions-compliant. Regulators are bound to allow the sale and use of these vehicles.

However, vehicles with defeat devices are anything but emissions-compliant. When they are brought out of the lab and driven on real roads, the devices make the vehicle they are installed in revert to its factory settings. This results in the vehicle releasing voluminous amounts of nitrogen oxide or NOx, which contains nitrogen dioxide (NO) and nitric oxide (NO), pollutants that cause adverse health impacts and environmental destruction.

As such, the VW Group sold highly polluting vehicles to their unaware customers. They lied to the drivers and led them to believe that the vehicles were fuel-efficient and emissions-compliant. 

As a result, VW was fined and affected vehicles had to be recalled. The VW Group has also had to deal with emission claims brought against them by car owners they deceived. 

The Volkswagen Group is not the only vehicle manufacturer that has the Dieselgate scandal stamped on them; other popular carmakers have been found using defeat devices as well – the list of alleged diesel emissions scandal perpetrators includes Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Vauxhall, and BMW.

BMW emissions scandal

The BMW emissions scandal started in 2018 when over 11,000 of their diesel vehicles were recalled about emissions manipulation allegations. The affected models were the BMW 750 3.0 Diesel Euro 6 and the BMW M550 3.0 Diesel Euro 6.

In February of that year, the carmaker admitted that their diesel vehicles released dangerous levels of toxic emissions when driven on real roads but not when in regulatory testing.

That same year, the German manufacturer became the receiving end of a lawsuit by a US law firm about allegations that they colluded with Robert Bosch LLC and Robert Bosch GmbH to create manipulative software that masks exceedingly high air pollution levels. 

For this case, the affected vehicles included the BMW X models built between 2009 and 2013 and BMW 330 models sold between the years 2009 and 2011.

In 2019, German prosecutors fined BMW €8.5 million (or approximately £7.344 million) in connection with diesel vehicles that released elevated levels of dangerous emissions; levels that are massively higher than the safe limits.

Aside from using defeat devices, BMW was also caught in a cartel with two other German carmakers – Volkswagen and Daimler (Mercedes’ parent company), colluding to delay clean emissions technology by restricting AdBlue tank sizes between 2006 and 2014 so the urea-based fluid will be a little inconvenient to use. 

AdBlue is used to bring down NOx emissions from vehicle exhaust. 

For their participation in the cartel, Volkswagen paid a fine of €502 million (or around £433.57 million) while BMW had to pay €373 million (or about £322.15 million). 

Daimler was excused from paying a fine because they reported the existence of the cartel. 

Why NOx emissions are dangerous

Diesel emissions, specifically NOx, are dangerous because of their negative impacts on the environment and human health. Its primary components, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO); are strong and harmful gases. 

When nitrogen oxide is mixed with other chemicals, it produces pollutants such as ground-level ozone. This ozone has devastating effects on vegetation, particularly on plants and crops. NOx is also responsible for the formation of acid rain and smog.

Nitrogen oxide’s impacts on mental and overall health should not be taken for granted. They vary from minor to life-threatening ones. Minor complications include asthma and respiratory diseases, breathing difficulties, and lung problems (such as fluid in the lungs).

Serious health effects that result from exposure to NOx emissions include asphyxiation, spasm of the vocal cord, cardiovascular ailments, and premature death. Numerous reports and research have come out linking NOx emissions to hundreds or thousands of early deaths.

The lies manufacturers told their customers and the impacts of NOx emissions are the major reasons for car owners affected by the defeat device scandal should bring a BMW diesel claim to court. Every driver deserves to be compensated for the inconveniences and dangers they had to endure.

So, how do I start my diesel claim?

If you believe your BMW has a defeat device, you should waste no time and start working on an emissions claim. However, you should first verify if you are qualified to claim. Aside from the vehicle model and year of manufacture, other aspects need to be considered.

This is why you should visit the website – they have all the information you need to start your claims process right.

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