Dieselgate: UK Car Buyers’ Complaint Against VW Reaches High Court | Volkswagen (VW)

Volkswagen has tricked UK car buyers into faking its vehicles’ green credentials, lawyers will argue this week, as a compensation claim related to the German company’s Dieselgate emissions scandal reaches the High Court .

More than 90,000 claimants seek compensation after buying cars from Volkswagen – including Audi, Seat and Skodas – only to find they emit more nitrogen dioxide, an air pollutant, than the company claimed .

The class action, launched in 2019, is the latest to follow the ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal, which erupted in 2015 when it was discovered that the automaker had installed ‘defeat devices’ to rig emissions data. The company has already spent £ 25 billion worldwide on legal fees, compensation and vehicle buybacks since the scandal broke.

Arguments heard in court this week could have a significant impact on the additional payments, given their potential impact on a trial set to begin in January 2023.

During the five-day hearing, plaintiffs’ attorneys will argue that customers were deceived because VW did not tell them about the “defeat devices.”

VW would have to say that its failure to mention the devices is insufficient in law for a deception claim, which could only arise if customers believed the cars didn’t have any and were fooled into thinking otherwise.

If a judge decides that a deception claim cannot be pursued, the amount VW will end up paying in compensation could be significantly limited.

But VW would still face compensation claims, including for breach of a legal obligation – in fact, failure to comply with car manufacturing regulations – and a smaller number, around 40% of the 91,000 total, for breach of contract. contract by providing a car of insufficient quality. The plaintiffs are represented by three law firms: Leigh Day, Slater & Gordon and PGMBM.

“It’s been over six years since the dieselgate scandal first erupted and made headlines around the world, but our customers in the UK are still waiting for justice,” said Shazia Yamin, partner at Leigh Day.

“While in many other jurisdictions Volkswagen has admitted to cheating on emissions tests and paying billions of pounds in fines and regulations, they nonetheless continue to wage this long legal battle in the UK and, rather than ‘take the sensible approach and seek to resolve these issues, have chosen to file a claim to reject some of the complaints made by our customers. “

Yamin said a decision in favor of his customers “would serve a very important purpose in holding manufacturers to account, restoring consumer confidence and pursuing the broader goal of reducing emissions and their harmful effects on the world. public health and the environment ”.

She added: “There is a clear public interest in what is now a long overdue resolution to the UK broadcasts scandal.”

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A spokesperson for the German automaker said: “The Volkswagen Group maintains that there is no legal basis for the plaintiffs’ argument that customers have been deceived by Volkswagen.

“In particular, we do not believe that the applicants knew and understood the specific statements that they would have relied on before purchasing the vehicles. We therefore ask that the tribunal strike out (or render summary judgment on) this allegation from the plaintiffs’ case. “

Mercedes is also facing compensation claims for circumvention devices, in a separate lawsuit that the German automaker has said it will defend.

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