Shareholders visit a showroom as part of the German luxury car manufacturer Daimler's annual general meeting in Berlin in April. Photo: JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP
A law firm said on Saturday it had lodged the first investor complaint in Germany demanding compensation from car manufacturer Daimler over the "dieselgate" scandal.
The complaint, filed Friday at the Stuttgart Regional Court by German law firm Tilp, accuses Daimler of "various market manipulations" since 2014 and having ignored "the huge risks associated with the installation of a banned device in its vehicles" to deceive controls on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, lawyer Andreas Tilp said in a statement.
The scandal emerged when the Volkswagen group admitted in 2015 to installing so-called "defeat devices" in some 11 million diesels worldwide that made them seem less polluting in lab tests than they actually were on the road.
The affected vehicles involved VW's own-brand cars, but also those made by Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat.
Tilp cited an interview given in September 2015 at the height of the scandal by Dieter Zetsche, boss of Daimler, in which he said that "unlike Volkswagen, Daimler has not installed fraudulent software in its vehicles".
However, the parent company of Mercedes found itself embroiled in the global scandal after the top brand recalled 774,000 vehicles across Europe with software capable of distorting emissions, according to a June 11 report by German transport ministry.
The firm calculated that shares dropped by at least 12.5 percent, which could lead to claims "in billions" against the manufacturer. It said it expects many more shareholders to join the claim.
Tilp currently represents more than 2,000 plaintiffs, made up of private and institutional shareholders, in a 5.4 billion euro damages claim against Volkswagen over dieselgate.