The two are collaborating to secure compensation for Volkswagen drivers who are taking action against the brand over the scandal.
The groups are working together against Volkswagen and parts supplier Bosch, who yesterday faced accusations of having created the software that allowed cars to cheat official emissions tests.
Damon Parker, head of litigation and founding partner of the British law firm, Harcus Sinclair UK, said: “Financial compensation is not the only issue. They wish to prevent corporations thinking that they can deceive customers and harm people’s health and the environment with impunity.”
Speaking with Autocar, Parker added: "The objective is to hold company to account and get financial compensation. It’s not particularly about money; nobody’s going to make huge sums, what they’re doing is registering a protest. If people feel they’ve been deceived and lured into buying something with eco quality; a Bluemotion VW for example, they may as well have bought something else which costs them less."
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The objective of pairing up with European groups, Parker said, is "strength in numbers, sharing information, jointly presenting a united front". 41,000 affected UK owners have registered interest since January 2017, with between 30 and 40 on a quiet day and 200 on a particularly busy day signing up to the firm's site for legal proceedings against VW. There's potential for several hundred thousand affected owners through potential partnerships in Europe to band together in this way though.
Volkswagen’s stance towards affected European owners has steadfastly been that of no compensation, despite payouts and buy-backs being offered to customers in the US. Volkswagen has said that this is due to a different, more extensive and time-consuming recall in the US.
The Dutch foundation of 180,000 Volkswagen owners was founded shortly after the Dieselgate scandal broke, but has fruitlessly attempted to reach a settlement with Volkswagen. It claims to be the largest consumer claim in Europe, and is also working in partnership with similar foundations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
Volkswagen is currently working to fix 20,000 of the 1.2 million affected cars per week in the UK, and has rebuffed suggestions that the fix applied to cars worsens fuel economy and causes breakdowns following its installation.
Volkswagen has issued the following statement in relation to the matter: "As we have always maintained, we intend to defend these claims robustly. There is in any event no evidence of any adverse impact on the residual value of the affected vehicles as a result of this issue nor with their performance following the implementation of the technical measures.
Our customers are our top priority. To date we have implemented the technical measures in 665,000 vehicles in the UK with the overwhelming majority of affected customers being satisfied.
It is our view that the instigation of legal proceedings in England is premature for a number of reasons, not least because the implementation of the technical measures in the affected vehicles is still on-going.”