The BMW Diesel Scandal – Explained


If your BMW diesel vehicle was registered between the years 2009 and 2020 in the UK, you may be one of the thousands of drivers misled into believing that you purchased an environment-friendly and emissions-compliant car.

According to authorities, BMW allegedly installed illegal defeat devices in their diesel vehicles so they can falsify emission levels and pass regulatory testing.

A defeat device senses when a vehicle is in the lab for regulatory testing and once this happens, the device lowers emissions to within the World Health Organization’s legal limits. With falsified emissions levels, the vehicle easily passes regulatory tests, and the carmaker is permitted to sell.

However, this is only true during test conditions as the vehicle’s performance is different when driven in real-world road conditions. Outside of the laboratory, the reverts to releasing excessive volumes of nitrogen oxides or NOx. Therefore, without the help of a defeat device, the vehicle will fail to pass regulatory testing.

Drivers and everyone around them are exposed to high levels of toxic air. This can cause health impacts such as asthma, lung problems, and respiratory conditions. BMW and all the other carmakers involved in the diesel emissions scandal lied to their customers about the vehicles’ emissions.

The Dieselgate scandal that started it all

The Dieselgate scandal first broke out in September 2015 with the Volkswagen Group receiving a notice of violation from US authorities for the alleged use of defeat devices in VW and Audi vehicles that were sold to American consumers. Hundreds of thousands of affected vehicles were recalled and Volkswagen had to pay fees and fines. The carmaker has also spent billions in compensation since 2015.

At first, the company denied the allegations but eventually said they knew about the defeat devices. As a result, some of the carmakers’ highest officials were relieved of their positions. The California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA ordered VW to recall all the hundreds of thousands of affected VWs and Audis in the US.

Since the scandal started, the Volkswagen Group has been paying off fines, fees, and compensation.

A few years later, authorities turned the spotlight on Mercedes-Benz. The German carmaker allegedly fitted defeat devices in their diesel vehicles as well.

Other brands were soon added to the list of carmakers possibly using defeat devices. BMW, known throughout the world for their luxury vehicles, was also implicated after authorities ran several tests that showed higher than normal nitrogen oxides emission levels.

Additionally, BMW was caught participating in a cartel with the Volkswagen Group and Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company. The three carmakers secretly met and agreed to delay technology intended for cleaner emissions. In 2021, the carmakers were found guilty and ordered to pay fines. BMW was fined around £332.52 million while VW has to pay approximately £447.52 million. Daimler was not fined in exchange for telling authorities about the cartel.

Reasons why NOx emissions are dangerous

Nitrogen oxide or NOx emissions are dangerous because they are harmful to both the environment and human health.

Vehicles with defeat devices release NOx at levels that are around 40 times over the safe and legal limits. This means massive amounts of pollutants are emitted into the atmosphere year after year through defeat device-equipped diesel vehicles.

Once NOx gets into the atmosphere, it turns into NO2 or nitrogen dioxide, which can produce smog and acid rain. Nitrogen oxide also forms ground-level ozone, which can harm and destroy vegetation such as plants and crops.

Some cases of exposure to NOx emissions involve mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, your cognitive abilities can be affected and once they weaken, you’ll become more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease.

If you live in or regularly pass by an area with high air pollution levels, you’ve most probably inhaled NOx emissions several times already. This makes you vulnerable to health conditions such as pulmonary oedema or fluid build-up in the lungs, shortness of breath, asthma, and respiratory diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis.

Serious health impacts include cancer, asphyxiation and laryngospasm, cardiovascular conditions, and premature death.

These health impacts, along with your carmaker’s deceitful actions, are more than enough reason for you to bring a legal BMW emissions claim and receive compensation.

Why should I file my diesel claim?

The primary reason for filing a diesel claim against your carmaker is to hold them responsible, which authorities believe they are, for the financial, physical, mental, and environmental inconvenience their lies have caused you.

There are other reasons as well, including:

  • Your vehicle’s market value has decreased.
  • You’ve been paying higher maintenance costs and fuel bills.
  • Your diesel vehicle’s performance may have been compromised.
  • You, your family, and the people around you may have been exposed to harmful nitrogen oxides.

It can be a tedious process, but you can always join a GLO or group litigation order (like a class-action lawsuit in the US). However, you’ll need to have your eligibility verified first to ensure that you are qualified to make a BMW emissions claim. Visit for this. Once you have all the information you need, you can proceed with your claim.

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