Rigging claims

Dyson In Dust-Up With Vacuum Rivals

vaccum cleaner DPA Julian Stratenschulte
Dyson and Bosch are challenging each other over the efficiency of their vacuum cleaners.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The allegations by Dyson, if proven true, would be damaging to the two German firms and, more broadly, call into question the E.U.’s entire testing regime.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Dyson claims Siemens and Bosch have introduced software in their vacuum cleaners that allows their motors to increase their wattage when vacuuming dust – but lowers the wattage when tested in a lab environment.
    • The British vacuum maker claims the software allows its German rivals’ products to have a better energy rating from the European Commission than they deserve.
    • It is seeking a court injunction forcing the German companies to change their advertising.
  • Audio

    Audio

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If you can associate a company with scandal-hit carmaker Volkswagen these days, you can do some real damage.

That seems to be the strategy of Dyson. The British vacuum-cleaner maker announced Wednesday that it is seeking a court injunction against its German rivals Bosch and Siemens, claiming they rig their vacuum cleaners to be more efficient in testing than they are in real life.

The accusation has shades of the scandal involving Volkswagen. The German carmaker faces billions of euros in fines and has had to recall 11 million cars after U.S. regulators discovered it had introduced software into its diesel-powered cars to make them seem more efficient in testing than when they run on the roads.

Yet Dyson’s claim, when it comes to vacuum cleaners, isn’t particularly new. It may also say more about the European Union’s flawed procedure for testing consumer products than it does about the German companies it is challenging in court.

Consumer watchdogs have long complained that many consumer products perform worse in real life than they do in the E.U.’s energy-efficiency tests. The European Commission, the E.U.’s executive arm, also admits it is looking at new technologies to improve its testing.

German consumer testing group Stiftung Warentest, in a statement to Handelsblatt, noted that Dyson itself has also not performed especially well in independent quality tests.

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