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What has happened?

In 2016 the European Commission invited Volvo to take part in an investigation into car emissions. As part of that investigation the manufacturer admitted to using defeat devices. Like many other manufacturers, they have acknowledged that their vehicles contain thermal windows. Volvo note that the temperature ranges of the thermal windows “are defined by long term effects such as forming of deposits or thermal degradation”. Volvo have inferred that such use is permitted under the legal exemption which allows the use of defeat devices provided they are for the purpose of “protecting the engine against damage or accident and for safe operation of the vehicle”.

However, a CJEU judgment has confirmed that such use of defeat devices will only be permitted if it helps protect the engine against “sudden and exceptional damage”. The exemption therefore is unlikely to be available to Volvo where the defeat device is to protect against long term degradation of the vehicle.

Read about the CJEU decision here.

Independent testing has indicated that some models emit between 3 and 13 times the permitted level of NOx.

Click here to read further about emissions claims

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The scandal in numbers


V40s and XC60s sold in UK in 2018 alone


Times SV90 4D exceeded regulatory NOx levels when tested in real world winter driving conditions


Approximate number of new Volvo cars sold between 2011 and 2018


Volvo’s estimated cost of fitting a three component emissions control system which cannot be passed on to customer due to market competition.

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Can I join?

Independent real world driving tests suggest that the following models might be fitted with impermissible defeat devices:

Volvo S90 D4
Volvo V40
Volvo XC60 2.0 D3
Volvo V60 D3
XC60 D4

However, anybody who bought a Euro 5 or Euro 6 diesel Volvo in England or Wales can apply to join the claim. If you bought or leased an affected Volvo in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you can still complete our questionnaire, but your claim will be handled slightly differently.

The litigation will be free at the point of use. Harcus Parker will act on a no-win, no-fee basis, and will pay any third-party costs which are necessary in order to progress the claims to trial.


NOx contains both Nitrogen Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide. NOx is emitted when fossil fuels are burnt, but not completely combusted. Diesel engines are not 100% efficient, meaning that their exhaust emissions contain NOx, as well as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, and air pollutants such as particulate matter. NOx worsens air quality and has adverse health effects including contributing to respiratory problems and cancer. Diesel cars are one of the main causes of pollution in our air.

These allow cars to turn down their emissions control system outside the emissions testing environment i.e. when the cars are driven in the real world. Not all defeat devices are cheating devices – some are allowed by regulations. However, in many cases they are used by manufacturers to give the appearance that their diesel vehicles pass emissions tests, when in fact they do not.

The term used to describe the emissions scandal which broke when the German car maker, VW, admitted to fitting more than 11 million of their VW cars with unlawful defeat devices leading to the first major emissions class action lawsuit in the United States.

We use this term to cover both owners of cars, and people who leased their cars.

A senior court of England and Wales dealing with high value and high importance non-criminal matters. This court ruled that it will be bound by findings of the KBA (the German motor authority) that defeat devices are present.