75% of Vehicles May Have Cheat Devices, Study Suggests

75% of Vehicles May Have Cheat Devices, Study Suggests

In 2015, the German automotive corporation Volkswagen (VW) found itself amid a global scandal that rocked the automotive industry. The “Dieselgate” scandal was exposed after software was found on the engines of VW vehicles that allowed them to cheat emissions tests. This led to major recalls and lawsuits for VW around the world, with many people questioning the integrity of the automotive industry.

Since then, diesel emission claims have come into sharp focus in many parts of the world. The European Union (EU) has been at the forefront of this issue, as diesel engines are a popular choice among European drivers. However, a recent study has suggested that up to 75% of diesel cars in Europe may contain emissions-cheating devices similar to those found in VW vehicles. 

The Latest Discovery

According to a report by the nonprofit International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), a significant majority of European diesel-powered cars are suspected to have emissions-cheating devices. The study, which analysed data from 1,400 official government tests, revealed that 77% of Euro 6 diesel cars and 85% of older Euro 5 vehicles showed test results with excessive emissions. The report also concluded that the levels of nitrogen oxide emitted during testing indicate the use of prohibited defeat devices, such as software that allows cars to manipulate pollution controls during tests. The presence of a defeat device was highly likely in a considerable number of tests, as “extreme” emission levels were discovered in at least 40% of them, as reported by the NGO.

The report reveals that there is a concerning number of vehicles in the European Union and the U.K. with emission levels that are considered “suspicious” or even “extreme”. Currently, this figure stands at 19 million vehicles with suspicious levels and 13 million vehicles with extreme levels. Peter Mock, ICCT’s Europe managing director, believes that these findings provide authorities with substantial evidence to investigate and potentially take corrective action to address the health risks posed by diesel cars in Europe.

According to the ICCT, the VW Passat and Tiguan, Renault Clio, Ford Focus, and Nissan Qashqai are the top-selling models in the EU27 and UK from 2009-2019 with “extreme” emissions under the Euro 5 standard. Recent rulings by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) have defined illegal defeat devices, and information from testing and manufacturer submissions indicates that numerous models may still possess these devices.

Rising Lawsuits

Environmental law charity ClientEarth, along with other organisations, has used new evidence from the ICCT to file legal complaints against the UK, French, and German governments. These complaints argue that the governments have neglected their obligation to address the widespread use of defeat devices, as mandated by law. Both ClientEarth and the ICCT highlight the limited number of highly polluting vehicles that have been recalled, with the current lack of transparency regarding the effectiveness of repairs.

The European Environment Agency confirms that air pollution remains a prominent environmental health hazard in Europe. Nitrogen dioxide emissions, mainly emitted by diesel vehicles, are estimated to cause 64,000 premature deaths yearly.

Michelle Meyer, representing the ICCT, emphasises that despite the passage of seven years since the Dieselgate scandal emerged, the lack of substantial corrective measures allows these vehicles to continue operating throughout Europe, thereby endangering the health of those exposed to the resulting air pollution.

Tim Dallmann, also from the ICCT, asserts that the issue of Dieselgate is far from resolved. He highlights the abundance of compelling evidence that demands action from governments and other stakeholders. Without decisive measures, the problem will persist. Furthermore, since vehicles manufactured as recently as 2019 are still on European and UK roads, the ramifications will endure for years to come.

Katie Nield, a lawyer from ClientEarth, expresses her astonishment at the minimal progress made since 2015. She states that legal complaints have been submitted to three national governments to demand a comprehensive resolution to the harmful legacy of Dieselgate. This betrayal of consumer and public trust should not go unaddressed, and authorities must hold auto manufacturers accountable.

Taking Action and Filing My Diesel Claim

Dieselgate has had a profound effect on diesel car owners who now have to deal with a loss of trust and value in their cars. Fortunately, in many countries, some laws and regulations can provide a path to redress to the public.

Individuals can pursue legal action against car manufacturers in case they purchase a vehicle that has been fitted with a cheating emissions system. Filing a claim or joining a class action lawsuit can enable diesel car owners to recoup compensation for their vehicle’s true value.

Individuals can head over to for a step-by-step guide to assist them in asserting their rights in court. By filing a diesel claim, they can receive compensation for any harm their vehicle has caused and contribute to making our roads cleaner and safer for all.