Volkswagen’s nightmare start to 2017 just got worse

9 Jan 2017

Volkswagen. Image: Cineberg/Shutterstock

An allegedly arrested executive, another vehicle recall, and a horror start to 2017 for Volkswagen. When it rains, it pours…

A potential class action lawsuit in the UK against Volkswagen, valued at £30m, is the latest instalment of the ‘Dieselgate’ fiasco, which saw the German car manufacturer allegedly caught selling vehicles with emissions higher than advertised.

The fallout was immense, with settlements around the world gradually coming on stream. In the US, for example, some $15bn was the cost of a settlement with 500,000 car owners. In Spain, it cost the company €5,000 per affected owner.

In the UK, no agreement has yet been reached, something this latest lawsuit is seeking to address.

“We will argue that you received a vehicle that should never have been licensed for sale because it did not meet the required emissions standards,” said Harcus Sinclair, the firm taking the case.

“We believe that the court will assess the difference between what you paid for your vehicle and the inherent value of what you actually received.”

Harcus Sinclair said the key issue is the affected cars’ suitability for the road, and whether or not they should have been certified as fit for sale due to emissions allegations.

“It is also alleged that the affected vehicles only passed official emissions test because their engines were fitted with a ‘defeat device’ which reduces nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions under test conditions,” the firm said in a statement.

Volkswagen, though, is planning to fight this, with a spokesperson for the company telling Reuters that the company “expect[s] no decline in the residual values of the affected vehicles as a result of this issue”.

It makes for a grim few days at Volkswagen.

The New York Times has today alleged that an executive within the car company has been arrested by the FBI, facing charges of conspiracy to defraud the US. This is also in relation to the emissions scandal.

Last week, it emerged that Volkswagen was recalling nearly 136,000 Audi and Volkswagen vehicles to fix potential problems with their anti-lock brake systems.

Cars including certain 2009-10 Volkswagen Jetta sedan A5s, 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, Eos, GTI, Rabbit, Audi A3 and the 2010 Volkswagen Golf A6 will be repaired, free of charge.

Volkswagen. Image: Cineberg/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic