British and European Volkswagen owners are seeking a total of £30million. This could soar to £3.6billion if VW also has to pay for Audi’s, Skoda’s and Seat’s.
The car manufacturer reached a £15billion settlement with 500,000 US owners. People who purchased vehicles want compensation after over-paying for polluted cars
British motorists are launching a lawsuit that could cost Volkswagen billions of pounds over the ‘dieselgate’ scandal.
Ten thousand owners who feel they were misled into buying polluting cars are seeking £3,000 each in compensation – a total of £30million.
That could soar to £3.6billion if VW eventually has to pay £3,000 for each of the 1.2million cars including Audis, Skodas and Seats affected by the emissions scandal in the UK.
Volkswagen has reached a £15billion settlement with 500,000 owners in the US, but the German car giant has offered nothing to motorists in Britain and Europe in a decision that has outraged drivers, MPs and consumer groups.
At the same time, the Department for Transport has been accused of going soft on VW by failing to penalise the company.
The VW emissions scandal involved around 11million cars worldwide. The UK class action surrounds the fact that drivers paid a premium price for what they thought were clean diesel cars.
In fact, emissions of NOx gases – a combination of the pollutants nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide – were far higher than the company stated.
NOx gas emissions are associated with, among other things, childhood asthma and are linked to 23,000 premature deaths every year in the UK.
People who bought the vehicles say they should be compensated for over-paying for a polluting car. Rather than offering compensation in the UK, VW is recalling all the vehicles involved for what it calls a ‘fix’.
Lawyers will allege that the affected vehicles passed official emissions tests only because their engines were fitted with a ‘defeat device’ using cheat software which reduces NOx emissions under test conditions. Environmental engineers exposed VW’s cheating in September 2015.
MPs and consumer groups have been scathing over VW’s failure to pay compensation to motorists in Britain and Europe. Louise Ellman, who chairs the Commons transport committee, described the company’s stance as deeply unfair.
Monique Goyens, of the European Consumer Organisation, said: ‘Volkswagen’s global fraud is a scandal of unprecedented dimensions. The fact that VW refuses to pay compensation in Europe but is ready to pay in the US adds insult to injury.’
Lawyers say VW has settled in the US because consumers and the authorities there are far more litigious than in the UK and Europe. The European Commission has started legal action against the UK and six other EU states, including Germany and Spain, for failing to penalise Volkswagen.
'With legal proceedings commencing VW said it would be 'inappropriate for us to comment any further at this stage.'
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