Dieselgate is not over yet in Europe.
As much as Volkswagen wants to put the Dieselgate fiasco to bed forever, ongoing lawsuits from affected owners won't let that happen. The latest example involves a German court ruling that could have some serious consequences for the automaker. According to Reuters, a German court in Augsburg has just ruled VW must reimburse the owner of a diesel Golf hatchback the full amount they originally paid for it new back in 2012.
VW vows to appeal because it believes the court misapplied the law, but this could potentially set a major legal precedent. By ruling that VW must reimburse this owner the full 30,000 euros ($34,200), other affected VW diesel owners will demand the same. See why VW wants to appeal.
"In our opinion, there is no legal basis for customer complaints. Customers have suffered neither losses nor damages. The vehicles are safe and roadworthy," VW said in a statement following the ruling. VW further noted that nearly 9,000 other judgments have already been issued in connection with Dieselgate, and a majority of those customer complaints were unsuccessful at both district and higher courts.
"The decision of the district court in Augsburg thereby stands in contradiction to multiple decisions of other courts in comparable cases," VW added. If VW loses the appeal, there's a high probability other affected diesel owners will demand full compensation as well.
All told, VW has recalled around 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, all of which were fitted with cheating emissions software. The carmaker has already settled with the United States government to pay billions of dollars for violating environmental laws, damaging dealership profits, and customer neglect.
Furthermore, it offered to buy back 500,000 polluting vehicles in the US alone. However, VW has not yet reached a similar deal with the EU, hence one reason why it's taking this German court ruling so seriously. If a higher court rules against VW on appeal, this could potentially force the company to pay all European VW diesel owners the original amount they paid for their cars.