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Daimler AG

Mercedes owners file class-action suit against automaker for potentially imaginary defeat devices

They're imaginary in the sense that nobody's been able to prove their existence.

The firm behind the suit asserts that absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.

Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Corbis

Another day, another lawsuit against a diesel-car manufacturer for emissions. This time around, Mercedes-Benz owners have filed a class-action lawsuit against the automaker for allegedly installing defeat devices in its vehicles, despite no evidence that the devices exist.

Reuters reports that the firm behind the suit, Hagens Berman, is using if-it-walks-like-a-duck logic as the basis for its complaint. "The fact that Mercedes passed the dynamometer test in all tests, but failed the real world test, is suggestive that like VW, Mercedes is implementing a 'defeat device,'" the firm's complaint reads.

"We consider this class-action lawsuit to be unfounded," Daimler (Mercedes' parent company) said in a statement. "Our position remains unchanged: A component that inadmissibly reduces emissions is not used in Mercedes-Benz vehicles. We are convinced that all our vehicles comply with the legal requirements."

Back in January, Daimler responded to similar claims of manipulation. "We would again point out that it is common that deviations occur in real driving conditions compared with the certified norm values," its statement read.

Emissions testing in lab environments has come under fire recently for not being terrifically accurate. The EPA pledged to test every new diesel on the road, not only to ensure that there are no defeat devices present, but also to ensure that its testing methods are closer to how normal drivers will treat their vehicles.