A federal judge in New Jersey allowed a class-action lawsuit accusing Mercedes-Benz USA and Robert Bosch of diesel-emissions cheating to proceed, denying motions by the defendants to dismiss the case.
The lawsuit alleges Mercedes teamed up with Bosch to program its BlueTEC vehicles to release illegally high, dangerous levels of emissions via a "defeat device," similar to the that used by Volkswagen Group that sparked its 3-year-old emissions-cheating scandal.
Such defeat devices turn off or limit emissions reductions during real-world driving conditions but not during vehicle-emissions tests. A defeat device allows a vehicle to pass government emissions testing while exceeding pollution standards under real-world driving conditions.
Emails to Mercedes and Bosch seeking comment were not immediately returned.
The opinion, filed Feb. 1, mostly denied Mercedes' motions to dismiss the case's core class-action claims that allege Mercedes' and Bosch's actions violated several state consumer rights laws, and the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act. The suit also states the automaker's omissions and misrepresentations constitute fraudulent concealment.
The complaint accuses Mercedes of deceiving consumers by failing to disclose the defeat device despite marketing BlueTEC as "the world's cleanest and most advanced diesel" cars that reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 percent.
On-road testing confirmed Mercedes' BlueTEC vehicles produced average on-road NOx emissions 19 times higher than the U.S. standard, with some instantaneous readings as high as 65 times more than the limit, a fact that Mercedes and Bosch concealed from the public, according to the complaint.