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What has happened?

In common with other manufactures in the car industry, Ford have acknowledged that they use thermal windows, a form of defeat device in their engines. Ford have suggested that these thermal windows are permissible by virtue of a 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 Ford where the defeat device is to protect against long term degradation of vehicle components.

The KBA has found evidence of defeat devices in the Ford C-Max 1.5l, in some test conditions this was found to emit between 4 to 5 times the legal limits of NOx. In addition, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency in the UK (DVSA) found the Ford Transit, when tested using the full range of gears (i.e. including sixth gear) emitted twice the legal levels. In the past, Ford has said that in its view all diesel car manufactures need to make use of exemptions in the regulations due to “physical constraints”.

Read about the CJEU decision here.

Click here to read further about emissions claims.

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The scandal in numbers


More than 2 million new Ford vehicles sold in the UK between 2009 and 2018


Deaths attributable to outdoor air pollution each year


9 times regulatory NOx limit exceeded by affected models


Metric tonnes of CO2 emissions produced by Ford vehicles worldwide. CO2 and other exhaust emissions such as sulphur dioxide combine to form acid rain.

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Can I join?

Anybody who bought a Euro 5 or Euro 6 diesel Ford in England or Wales can apply to join the claim. If you bought or leased an affected Ford 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.