VW Facing Deluge of Lawsuits in Wake of Dieselgate

By Paul Riegler on 28 September 2015
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Audi A3 2.0 TDI at the 2012 Paris Motor Show

Audi A3 2.0 TDI at the 2012 Paris Motor Show

Within days of the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement on September 18 that Volkswagen had circumvented existing U.S. emissions regulations, more than two dozen lawsuits were filed in the United States.

VW is said to have deceived regulators by installing technology that switches its diesel-powered vehicles to a cleaner mode in order to meet emissions standards during official testing, but not while on the road,

Law firms that have already announced plans for litigation in the matter report having received multiple enquiries from VW owners across the nation.

The EPA recalled almost 500,000 Volkswagens and Audis manufactured since 2009 and sold in the United States with this technology, including the VW Jetta TDI, the VW Beetle TDI, the VW Passat TDI, the VW Golf TDI, and the Audi A3 TDI. Volkswagen has suspended all sales of these vehicles, including the sale of used cars at its dealerships.

Multiple law firms sent out news releases to the media and are offering current and former owners of these vehicles a “free evaluation” of a potential claim as lawyers seek to consolidate multiple class-action lawsuits, which may eventually total several hundred, in one federal court.

The class-action lawsuits are expected to seek billions of dollars from VW, which stands accused of defrauding consumers who paid significantly higher prices for diesel-powered models capable of impressive performance as well as outstanding fuel economy and emissions.

Volkswagen’s now former CEO, Martin Winterkorn, apologized twice for the deception and resigned as CEO last week. On Monday, the Staatsanwaltschaft or state attorney in Braunschweig, a city near VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, announced a criminal investigation of Winterkorn as well as of several other unnamed executives. The automaker is holding a meeting of shareholders and union representatives on Wednesday to discuss the crisis and has set aside €6.5 billion ($7.3 billion) to cover the cost of recalls and other Dieselgate-related related items.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)