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Dyson to be sued over Volkswagen-style cheating claims


BSH Hausgerate (BSH) will sue Dyson, after the founder of the U.K. company accused the German home appliance manufacturer of cheating on energy consumption tests for it vacuum cleaners, and likened it to scandal-struck Volkswagen.

James Dyson poses for a portrait at the Dyson vacuum cleaner factory in Malmesbury, England.
David Levenson | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

BSH, the parent company of Bosch and Siemens, announced it would take legal steps against Dyson in Great Britain, following "unfounded and untrue" allegations by billionaire founder and inventor, Sir James Dyson.

"We have long since been aware that James Dyson has a history of taking a very aggressive approach against his competitors and has a desire to be in the public eye," BSH's CEO Karsten Ottenberg said in a statement. "With his completely unfounded accusations of cheating in the past week he has now overstepped the mark, which is why we will now initiate legal steps against Dyson."

BSH's action comes after Dyson launched legal proceedings against Bosch in Netherlands and France, and Siemens in Germany and Belgium. It accused the brands of cheating European Union (EU) energy consumption tests by adding control electronics into some of the vacuums.

"Their behavior is akin to that seen in the Volkswagen scandal," Dyson said in a statement last week. "It seems that industry is rife with manufacturers engineering to find their way around tests, rather than engineering better, more efficient technology. This behavior is seriously misleading customers."

Sir James Dyson, holding robot vacuum cleaner, Dyson 360 Eye.
Next ‘VW scandal’? Dyson accuses German vacuums of test cheating

BSH has disputed the accusations, saying its products fully meet the specifications of the EU Energy Label and Ecodesign Directive for vacuum cleaners. The German company added that it also assessed its products in its own research and development center.

Dyson has refused to stand down, saying that his initial court cases are still outstanding and that the matter is not just a "dispute between competitors."

"We will not be diverted from what is a crucial consumer issue. What Bosch and Siemens have done we believe circumvents the purpose of the EU energy regulations and misleads consumers," Sir James Dyson said.

By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her on Twitter @AlexGibbsy.