This latest lawsuit over Dieselgate could cost Volkswagen over $4 billion.
Dieselgate is one of the most notorious scandals to affect the auto industry in recent years, where Volkswagen was found to be misleading customers with diesel emissions testing. According to The Daily Mail, around 10,000 angry customers affected by the scandal have begun plans for a class action lawsuit demanding around 3,000 GBP (roughly $3,600) in compensation each. If successful, this could have huge repercussions for VW, costing the manufacturer somewhere in the region of $30 million.
That figure could soar to over $4 billion, however, if VW ends up paying out to the 1.2 million total cars affected in the UK spanning Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda. Volkswagen has so far refused to compensate owners in the UK, arguing that its cars didn't breach the European emissions regulations. It's a different story in the US, however. Stricter regulations meant that the manufacturer was in clear breach. As a result, VW has had to pay out $15 billion in fines and customer compensation in the biggest settlement in US history. They got off lightly, frankly. The case is due to go to court in the UK on January 30.
Damon Parker, head of litigation at legal firm Harcus Sinclair told the Daily Mail: "The group action aims to ensure that, if VW is found to have misled consumers about the environmental damage caused by their cars, they are penalized accordingly so as to discourage this sort of behaviour from happening again." Volkswagen has issued a statement responding to the action: "We have been notified that Harcus Sinclair intends to bring proceedings against Volkswagen on behalf of 77 claimants in the English High court in relation to the NOx emissions issue. As we have previously said, we intend to defend such claims robustly."
Technical measures have already been developed by the Volkswagen Group for vehicles affected by the NOx emissions issue and approved in principle by the relevant certifying authorities. Final approvals have also been provided by the authorities in respect of the vast majority of the affected models. Importantly, for the vast majority of model variants for which final approval has already been provided, the relevant certifying authorities have confirmed that implementation of the technical measures has no impact on MPG, CO2 emissions, engine performance, maximum torque, and noise emissions.
Furthermore, as a number of independent bodies (including motoring publications and used car values specialists) have noted, we expect no decline in the residual values of the affected vehicles as a result of this issue. As a consequence, we have made it clear that we do not anticipate that any of our UK customers will in fact have suffered any loss as a result of the NOx emissions issue and that it is premature for claims to be brought in the UK." Over one year on, VW's emissions scandal is still having repercussions for the brand. It's not looking like customers around the world are going to forget about Dieselgate in a hurry.