Currently reading: VW faces Germany's largest-ever legal claim for Dieselgate
Proceedings begin on group civil action with more than 400,000 owners reported to be claiming compensation from Volkswagen
Jim Holder
News
2 mins read
30 September 2019

Proceedings in the largest legal claim in German history begin against Volkswagen today in relation to the Dieselgate scandal, with owners seeking compensation for either being missold their car or for financial losses as a result of altered emissions or lower resale values.

The case is viewed as highly significant for owners of all affected VW products - including cars from the Audi, Porsche, Seat, Skoda and VW brands - as it will likely have a bearing on how the Group approaches legal action in other European territories, including the UK.

The VW Group has already reached a settlement with American and Australian owners, but is vigorously defending European claims as a result of what it says are different regulations that it did not breach. To date, the scandal, which broke in 2015, has cost VW more than £30 billion in fines and costs, while it has made a provision of around £1bn for defending its European cases.

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The law in Germany was changed to allow a group civil action against VW - previously claimants would have had to take individual action. As a result, more than 400,000 owners are said to have grouped together ahead of today's hearing, while around another 100,000 are said to be still pursuing individual action.

They must prove that they were either mis-sold the car, that the technical fix approved by technical authorities has had a detrimental affect on efficiency or that resale values of affected cars have fallen.

In defence, VW argues that it did not breach European law by using a device to cheat emissions tests - such was the laxity of wording of the rules - and that the effect of the cheat was to lower NOx emissions, which would have had no immediate financial impact on owners, plus the fix has been independently approved as not negatively altering any emissions criteria.

In addition, it says it has compelling evidence that there has been no long-term impact on resale values.

Court proceedings in Germany could take up to four years, according to local media reports, by which time effected cars would be at least eight years old, and there are three possible outcomes: VW wins, the claimants win or an out-of-court settlement is reached if the court determines the cost of the case will exceed the likely compensation.

Although it is yet to be confirmed, around 85,000 UK owners are reported to have launched a joint action against VW, which will begin in December ahead of a full hearing likely to take place after spring 2020.

Read more

Dieselgate damages: UK civil case agains VW starts in spring

Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal bill runs to €30bn

Volkswagen CEO Diess accused of market manipulation

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405line 1 October 2019

The way I see it

what I think happened is that VW knew what they were doing when they embarked on this "poisoning exercise" is that they forgot that the consumer law is presumably different in AUS and US and and was their only real oversight. As I've said I think they've essentially sunk the motoring industry. I'm surprised that other car manufacturers have not sued VAG for their corporate "loss of earnings" due to products that costed them money to produce but not VAG as they didn't do any emissions research and therefore had a budget that was unhindered by doing any technical research, that allowed VAG to spend the money on advertisment therefore giving them an unfair marketing advantage.

Will86 30 September 2019

How big has the impact been?

Or to put it another way, what losses have owners actually suffered? I have no desire to defend VW, they lied to everyone and were motivated by greed, but I can't help but wonder whether this lawsuit is simply a money grabbing exercise. The focus should be on holding those responsible to account in a criminal court. That would send a far stronger message to the wider industry and VAG themselves. 

fadyady 30 September 2019

Why just Germany?

What about the millions of diesel wagons gassing the rest of Europe and us in the UK?