By on January 3, 2017

Volkswagen Golf family

A lawsuit has been filed in Germany against Volkswagen in the hopes of forcing the automaker to buy back emission-cheating cars in Europe in the same manner it was ordered to in the United States.

The suit, filed today by a solitary vehicle owner, will become the test case for thousands of other European claimants and aims to put pressure on VW to compensate continental customers for the ongoing emissions scandal.

Germany’s established a website for VW owners to sign up and have their claims heard without running the financial risks typically associated with plaintiffs and the country’s “loser pays rule.” Cooperating with litigation fund Burford Capital and the global law firm Hausfeld, the website is promising car owners up to 5,000 euros ($5,200) in damages or a forced buyback of their vehicle. While has not officially stated how many potential claimants have singed up, Reuters obtained documents indicating at least 100,000 individuals.

Hausfeld already represents VW owners in America and shareholders on both sides of the Atlantic.

While the German proceedings do not have the same legal weight as the U.S. class action suit, they will serve as a model in establishing a basis for future cases.

To date, only about a thousand of the nearly 2.5 million affected German owners have sued VW or car dealers over their defeat device-equipped vehicles. While some suits were rejected outright, roughly one quarter have been successful.  Volkswagen is also the target of 1,400 investor-based lawsuits over the same emissions-cheating issue, seeking a combined 8 billion euros.

Volkswagen has already spent billions to compensate U.S. owners of diesel-powered cars, but has — so far — rejected compensation for the remaining 8.5 million affected European models. It proposed the alternative of removing the test-defying software, ensuring that the “fixed” cars would still pass emissions and inflict no loss of value on European car owners.

However, Jan-Eike Andresen of isn’t satisfied. “VW has defrauded car owners for years,” Andresen told reporters. “VW delivered nothing on what they promised to do to mend the issue.”

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7 Comments on “Germany Finally Gets in on the Diesel Action With its Own Compensation Lawsuit...”

  • avatar

    VW simply cannot afford to replicate the US solution in Europe. Offering buy-backs (or $k’s each) to 8.5M owners, in addition to fines yet-to-be levied is simply a non-starter.

    I’m not saying VW doesn’t owe, just that they cannot possibly afford to pay and remain a going concern.

    • 0 avatar

      In that case a quick trip through bankruptcy may be the fairest solution. Existing stockholders would take a large haircut (maybe to zero), and defrauded customers would end up owning a large chunk of VW.

      • 0 avatar

        > and defrauded customers would end up owning a large chunk of VW.

        Which means customers would end up owning a large chunk of carcass after the vultures have picked the meat clean off the bones.

    • 0 avatar

      It would bankrupt VW in Europe.

      Most of their fleet, business and private sales are diesels in Europe.

      And that is across all of their main brands:
      – VW
      – Audi (diesels popular with company car drivers)
      – SEAT (popular in Southern Europe)
      – Skoda (popular as taxi transport with diesel engines)

  • avatar

    This is a case were I admire US justice. Even if GM is a big corporation, damaging which one damages the country’s economics too, they fined it heftily for that switch scandal nonetheless. Nothing similar happens in GEUrmany, where VW IS the state. Long time ago, Agnelli used to claim that “what is good for FIAT, is good for Italy”. This is how car companies bend the wrist of the government here.

    • 0 avatar

      You admire that GM got off with a slap of the wrist and a relatively small fine for killing people, yet people want blood from VW because their cars emitted slightly more than they were supposed to? They want their cars bought back despite the fact that they have performed exceptionally well and gotten them even better miles per gallon than what they were supposed to. I know that’s because of the defeat device, but my point is they suffered no real loss other than perhaps diminished trade in value, but if they haven’t sold their car they haven’t suffered a loss.

  • avatar
    Turbo Is Black Magic

    Do we have to reuse the same VW photo over and over again? Since it’s a story about the EU trying to squeeze VW for cash why not a Broom yellow GTD pic.

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