Lawsuit claims about 1.4 million Nissan and Renault vehicles sold in the UK could be equipped with defeat devices.
Vehicles include Nissan Qashqai, a petrol-powered version of one of the UK’s best-selling family cars.
The law firm filing this case, Harcus Parker, claims that some cars produced up to 15 times higher the legal level of nitrogen oxides when used on the road.
Both automakers reject the claims.
Harcus Parker says it has observed independent test data which suggests that 1.3 million diesel cars produced by Nissan and Renault may have been equipped with defeat devices.
These are systems that turn emissions controls on when the automobile is going through a test but switches them off when it is being used on the road – in order to enhance their performance, reliability, or both.
But it also claims that about 100,000 petrol-powered cars may have been impacted as well. These are Nissan Qashqais equipped with a 1.2 litre engine.
Volkswagen has paid over $33 billion in fines, compensation, and buyback offers as a result. It is continuing to fight a number of legal battles.
Petrol cars, however, normally produce lower quantities of nitrogen oxides (NOx) compared to those of diesels, and have not previously been shown to have been associated with emissions-cheating, although there have been some claims to the contrary.
Harcus Parker claims that the 1.2l Qashqai produces many times more than the legal level of NOx when used in real-world driving conditions.
It says that tests conducted by the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2017 established that this was the case.
The DfT subsequently asked Nissan if it could modify the design to decrease emissions, which never happened.