Fishmonger, Tiny Country Deliver Bad News to Volkswagen

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Minus an ongoing criminal probe that has some executives, including the company’s former CEO, sweating bullets, Volkswagen has seen relatively little blowback from the emissions scandal in its home country.

Its emissions-rigged diesel vehicles continue to ply the roadways of the Continent, with nothing like the multi-billion-dollar American buyback scheme in sight. It’s not smooth sailing, however, as some burned customers have decided to come for their own pounds of flesh. This week, a company that knows all about flesh showed up in search of payback.

According to Reuters, Germany’s top fish and seafood manufacturer and distributor is suing the automaker after failing to reach an out-of-court settlement. Deutsche See operates two manufacturing plants and 23 subsidiaries, and leased 500 vehicles from VW.

Deutsche See takes great pride in its green credentials. The company was declared the most sustainable company in Germany in 2010, not long after the emissions-rigged diesels began rolling out of Wolfsburg. “Deutsche See only went into partnership with VW because VW promised the most environmentally friendly, sustainable mobility concept,” the company said in a statement.

Talks apparently went awry after VW replaced managers working on the case with lawyers and PR advisors. Now, the fish company just wants its money. It is demanding the euro equivalent of $12.8 million. That’s small herring compared to the billions spent in the U.S., but the Deutsche See case sets a precedent: it’s the first corporate lawsuit against VW in its home country, and could spark a wave of litigation.

Meanwhile, the postage stamp-sized country of Luxembourg has launched criminal proceedings against “unknown persons” at the automaker, Reuters reports. The country’s infrastructure ministry has declared Luxembourg “a victim of criminal action that led it to certify cars” from VW.

The move comes after the European Commission prodded seven countries into going after the automaker.

[Image: Volkswagen of America]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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8 of 16 comments
  • Chris724 Chris724 on Feb 07, 2017

    Burned customers? In what way were any of the customers burned? The cars still work just fine.

    • See 5 previous
    • Jalop1991 Jalop1991 on Feb 07, 2017

      @RobertRyan The cars don't work "very well" at all. They fail at a major purpose for which they were intended. If I fill your crankcase with water, will you be happy? Because water is great. Love it. Works fine. But not for the purpose for which I intended it, which is lubrication of your engine. The cars don't work fine at all.

  • NeilM NeilM on Feb 07, 2017

    "Major shareholder and former CEO Piech reportedly already testified against Winterkorn." Piëch is one of the Family, so obviously it's Winterkorn who gets thrown under the (diesel) bus.

  • Bob65688581 We bought zillions of German cars, despite knowing about WWII slave labor. Refusing to buy something for ideological reasons is foolish.Both the US and the EU have imposed tariffs, so the playing field is level. I'll buy the best price/quality, regardless of nationality.Another interesting question would be "Would you buy one of the many new European moderate-price EVs?" but of course they aren't sold here.Third interesting question: "Why won't Stellantis sell its best products in America?"
  • Freshblather No. Worried there will be malicious executable code built into the cars motherboard that could disable the Chinese cars in the event of hostilities between the west and China.
  • Bd2 Absolutely not - do not want to support a fascist, totalitarian regime.
  • SCE to AUX The original Capri was beautiful. The abomination from the 90s was no Capri, and neither is this.It looks good, but too similar to a Polestar. And what's with the whacked price?
  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.