Diesel Emissions Defeat Device: Car Companies Targeted in Class Action Lawsuits

In connection with the high-profile 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal, police arrested a senior manager at Porsche in Germany to assist in the long-running investigation. Porsche—as well as Audi and Lamborghini—is part of the Volkswagen Group. The executive was arrested because police feared he might flee or suppress evidence. The arrest follows raids by prosecutors on Porsche and Audi offices while they searched for evidence of fraud.

Volkswagen’s scandal began in 2015 after the car manufacturer was caught cheating on diesel emission tests. After Volkswagen’s diesel cheating software was discovered in September 2015, the auto industry was under increased scrutiny regarding “real-world” vehicle emissions.

Joe Lyon is a highly-rated and experienced product liability attorney, reviewing emissions fraud cases nationwide.   

Ford & Bosch Under Emissions Scrutiny

Ford and supplier Bosch are the targets of a lawsuit regarding the illegal emissions of over a half million of its heavy-duty F-250 and F-350 trucks sold between 2011 and 2017. The noxious emissions were tested as high as 50-times the permissible limit.

Ford and Bosch are accused of conspiring to hide emissions by programming the computer to detect when the vehicle is undergoing official emissions testing. This kind of ‘defeat device’ was used as part of Volkswagen’s emissions cheating systems.

General Motors: Chevrolet/GMC/Buick

In 2016, the Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Buick Enclave were sold with information that indicated incorrect fuel economy ratings. GM blamed the issue on “improper calculations.” For owners who purchased the affected vehicles, GM offered up to $900 or a free extended warranty to make up for the cost associated with the drop in fuel economy.

Daimler Diesel Defeat Device

A group of U.S. Mercedes owners filed a class-action lawsuit, alleging that the automaker’s BlueTEC diesel-powered vehicles shut off their emissions controls in real-world driving. A second class-action suit alleged software like a ‘defeat device’ similar to Volkswagen’s.

Both claims argue that Mercedes BlueTEC diesels shut down at ambient temperatures below 50 degrees. At the request of the U.S. Department of Justice, Daimler launched an investigation into its certification process for U.S.-market diesel engines.

Fiat Chrysler

A German news outlet reported that Fiat’s 2.0-liter diesel engine almost entirely shuts off its emissions control devices after 22 minutes of driving. An independent German environmental group claims a diesel 500X it tested put out between 11 and 22 times the legal limit of NOx emissions.

Fiat representatives refused to attend a meeting with a German Transport Minister to discuss the real-world findings. Fiat Chrysler said that its vehicles did not carry defeat devices, and that its products are legal under E.U. rules.


Nissan was the whistleblower that uncovered Mitsubishi’s fuel deception. Nissan revealed that Mitsubishi had been artificially boosting its fuel economy ratings by overinflating tires during testing. Mitsubishi admitted that the fuel economy deception began back in 1991, a routine effort affecting millions of vehicles.

PSA & Renault Lawsuits

French antifraud authorities raided Renault offices after many Renault diesel models emitted more than the legally permissible maximum in real-world driving situations.

Officials found no installed ‘defeat device,’ though the automaker recalled about 16,000 European-market diesel-powered SUVs and offered a software fix to reduce the emissions of nearly 700,000 diesel-powered vehicles. PSA, the maker of Peugeot and Citroën, faced similar anti-fraud raids by the same agency.

If you have questions about the legal remedies available surrounding a specific defeat device in the auto industry, contact The Lyon Firm (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer these critical questions.