German luxury carmaker BMW has been sued in the United States over “defeat devices” installed in tens of thousands of vehicles to cheat in diesel emissions tests, lawyers for the plaintiffs said yesterday.
The case, filed in federal court in New Jersey, will become a class-action once it is certified by a judge.
The suit singles out the BMW X5 and 335D model diesel cars which were sold between 2009 and 2013.
The attorneys at the Hagens Berman firm claim emissions from those cars were as much as 27 times higher than the standard permitted — a fact masked by the “defeat devices” and their “manipulative software”.
“At these levels, these cars aren’t just dirty — they don’t meet standards to be legally driven on US streets and nobody would have bought these cars if BMW had stuck to the truth,” said Steve Berman, the firm’s managing partner.
“BMW blatantly chose to leave its loyal customers in the dark, forcing them to unknowingly fit the bill for its degradation and lack of concern for the environment.”
BMW is the latest automaker to face legal action over emissions violations — rival Volkswagen was found to have built “defeat devices” into more than 11 million cars worldwide in the so-called “dieselgate” scandal.
The attorneys are seeking reimbursement for their clients for their car buys.
A week ago, German authorities raided BMW headquarters in Munich and another site in Austria in connection with a preliminary investigation into possible fraud relating to emissions cheat systems built into more than 11,000 vehicles.
BMW confirmed the raids and maintained the company’s stance that “a correctly programmed software subroutine was mistakenly allocated to incompatible models.”
In February, the German automaker admitted the software was present in some vehicles and said it would recall them for a software update as soon as one was approved by the KBA German vehicle licensing authority.
Volkswagen eventually was ordered to pay huge fines in the United States in connection with “dieselgate”.
Since that scandal blew out of proportions, several automakers have been accused of using software to skirt emissions standards and tests.