BSH Hausgerate – the German company behind the Bosch and Siemens brands – is threatening to sue Dyson over allegations that it manipulated energy efficiency tests.
The company says it is taking steps to sue Dyson in the UK after founder Sir James Dyson made the allegations – although it is not clear what form the legal action will take.
Dyson is best known for its range of bagless vacuum cleaners. Last week, Sir Dyson claimed that Bosch and Siemens had misled consumers about the energy efficiency of their products.
He said that BSH's vacuum cleaners had been built with electronics that allowed them to draw more power during home use than in laboratory tests. He added that the company's behaviour was "akin to the Volkswagen scandal", in which the car manufacturer installed devices into their vehicles to cheat emissions tests.
BSH, however, said that all of its vacuum cleaners were tested according to the requirements of the EU energy label and ecodesign directive – and that the products met the standards in full.
Dyson says that independent testing indicated that Bosch and Siemens brand machines could draw more than 1,600W of power when used in the home – despite only having a rating of 750W.
Following these tests, Dyson has sued BSH in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium for misleading consumers. BSH points out that a year ago, it showed that Dyson was advertising its products with the incorrect values on energy labels.
The German company also says that Dyson's claims are both unfounded and untrue, adding that its own bagged and bagless cleaners performed better than Dyson's in German tests and in tests carried out by Which? in the UK.
BSH chief executive Karsten Ottenberg said: "We have long 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. With his completely unfounded accusations of cheating in the past week he has now overstepped the mark."