Volkswagen's Dieselgate Still Going Strong in Europe
While Volkswagen’s diesel emission fiasco has died down in the United States, costing the automaker billions before going achieving dormancy, the legal fires burn brightly in Europe. On November 14th, a German court ruled that VW must reimburse the owner of a Golf the full price of the vehicle from when it was purchased in 2012. The decision sets a new precedent, possibly opening the firm to additional expenses via buybacks.
However, Volkswagen AG has claimed around 9,000 judgements have already been made relating to the diesel emissions scandal — most of which resulted in customer complaints being unsupported by district and higher courts. “In our opinion, there is no legal basis for customer complaints [in Europe]. Customers have suffered neither losses nor damages. The vehicles are safe and roadworthy,” VW said.
According to Reuters, the Augsburg civil court ruled that that VW had acted immorally by deliberately installing emissions-cheating software to increase sales and profits. As a result it decided that the automaker had to reimburse the Golf owner 30,000 euros ($34,200) — the vehicle’s full price when it was new.
“The decision of the district court in Augsburg thereby stands in contradiction to multiple decisions of other courts in comparable cases,” VW stated.
While that’s true for Europe, Volkswagen’s deal in America forced it to buyback or repair all the affected vehicles. That resulted in roughly half of a million vehicles being recalled, attaching billions to the already sizable fines being imposed by the U.S. government. Combined, VW’s total expenses in the region relating to the scandal are expected to reach around a $30 billion before the next decade.
Europe hasn’t been nearly as hard on the manufacturer financially, but the new ruling in Augsburg could encourage other plaintiffs hoping to be reimbursed to double down, citing the court decision as a legal precedent to pursue for damages. However, it’s unlikely the German government will be coming after the automaker as it previously agreed to fix the affected vehicles and pay a penalty of 1 billion euros in the hopes of avoiding any further legal action. That does not mean the automaker is in the clear, though. European investigative efforts have continued despite VW admitting guilt, probing hard into Audi and a rumored Chinese connection of late.
On September 10th, investors also filed a $10 billion lawsuit in Braunschweig, Germany against Volkswagen Group. They’re seeking compensation for the 37 percent decline in VW’s share price following the EPA’s announcement that the automaker had been caught cheating. Meanwhile, several of the firm’s executives remain in prison with high-profile additions like Rupert Stadler, the former CEO of Audi AG, having joined them in the clink earlier this year.
Conundrum on Nov 25, 2018
Stadler was let out of jail on Oct 30, Mr Posky, expert, sir. Most car outlets reported it, detailing the restrictions placed on his bail. TTAC couldn't be bothered to read the newswires. Besides, the last sentence of the post wouldn't read so well if facts were acknowledged. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-30/ex-audi-ceo-stadler-freed-from-jail-in-diesel-emissions-case https://www.leftlanenews.com/audi/former-audi-boss-rupert-stadler-released-from-jail/ https://driving.ca/audi/auto-news/news/ex-audi-ceo-stadler-released-from-jail-in-diesel-emissions-case Who are the other execs still in German jail? Or is that another, I pull the facts out of my left ear moment? And no, I don't mean US jail the article implies German.
MrGrieves on Nov 26, 2018
The "Customers have suffered neither losses nor damages" argument makes me chuckle. That position wouldn't stand two seconds of scrutiny in the USA. Had VW not marketed all their TDIs as "Clean Diesel" they might have used the same tactic in settling lawsuits. We all would have gotten a voucher for $100 off our next vehicle instead of buyback.
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