Volkswagen to face class action in the United Kingdom after compensating owners in the US and Australian markets.
As of January 2020, Volkswagen is still in talks over a settlement agreement with almost 500,000 VW owners in Germany, all affected by “Dieselgate”.
The Federation of German Consumer Organisations is said to be in talks with VW to deliver a solution that is in the interests of the customer. However, discussions are at a very early stage and remain confidential.
In a joint statement with VW, the VZBV said, “There is no certainty that an agreement will be reached.”
VW has already compensated vehicle owners in the US and Australian markets after admitting to the manipulation of data pertaining to the emissions of its diesel vehicles in particular.
Importantly, Volkswagen now faces a lawsuit here in the United Kingdom, where almost 100,000 of its customers are victim to VW fitting devices designed to manipulate emissions data produced by their diesel cars. More than 1m vehicles will be affected.
VW’s costs relating to the “Dieselgate” scandal have exceeded £25bn. In 2015 Volkswagen admitted to implementing software on over 11m vehicles globally in order to cheat emissions examinations.
Interestingly, the sale of diesel cars worldwide have dramatically decreased following the scandal.
Volkswagen pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the United States where they were ordered to pay out £3.3bn in penalties – This was the largest settlement in US automotive history.
Similarly, late last year (2019) Volkswagen was ordered to pay a multimillion-dollar settlement in Australia over “Dieselgate” and will pay further compensation to vehicle owners well into 2020.
It’s worth mentioning that despite all of this, VW has made no admission of liability under any of these agreements. Volkswagen has continued to defend themselves against any and all claims and believes these claims to be “unfounded”.
In Germany, a trial is being held close to VW’s Wolfsburg HQ in Braunschweig. Conversations surrounding settlement for claims made in Germany are taking place just three months after the case began.
The claim is aptly called a ‘declaratory model action’, which is a new type of legal instrument recently introduced in Germany. It is similar to our ‘group litigation orders’ here in the United Kingdom. It was proposed exclusively to represent the rights of the consumer.
In a statement VW said that any large scale settlements were “hard to imagine”.
The progressive nature of “Dieselgate” is likely to prolong the case overall with talks expected to last four years or more.