Expert Lawyers Call For Consumers To Be Top Priority For VW

Possibility Of Decreases In Performance, Fuel Economy And Value Post Recall


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

Expert product liability lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have expressed concern over the lack of information being provided to consumers affected by the Volkswagen emission-rigging scandal and called for the manufacturer to make consumers its number one priority after evidence provided to a one-off Transport Select Committee on 12 October revealed around 400,000 VW cars in the UK will require a mechanical modification and software changes.

Paul Willis, the UK managing director of VW, said cars fitted with 1.6L diesel engines will require a software fix and alterations to fuel injectors.

A total of 1.2 million UK vehicles had been affected, but Mr Willis confirmed that the remaining two-thirds would not need component changes.

The VW UK boss confirmed that the affected cars would be fixed for free and a loan car provided for those inconvenienced. However, he said it was premature to consider compensating consumers for their financial losses, stating it wasn’t a safety-related issue. In contrast, while the VW US boss said before Congress last week that dealerships profits were his number one priority, he did confirm that handing out full refunds was one of the areas they were looking at.

Expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, who have been contacted by more than 500 concerned VW drivers, have called for VW to make consumers its number one priority, which includes providing further information on when modifications will take place and what impact the fix will have on the performance and fuel economy of their vehicles.

Kevin Timms, an expert product liability lawyer leading the case for Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
“While it is positive that VW in the UK has apologised for letting down its consumers, the company still doesn’t appear to be making its customers its number one priority.

“In the US, Volkswagen has stated its number one priority is to ensure its dealerships return to profitability. We and the hundreds of concerned drivers who have contacted us for help want confirmation that UK consumers are a priority and that their individual financial losses and expenses will be compensated, not just dealership profits. Mr Willis confirmed VW will take the necessary steps to regain trust but there have been no proposals to refund consumer losses.

“In fact, the UK boss has confirmed that he considers it premature to consider consumer redress. This is simply not good enough and we repeat our request for VW to commence early negotiations with lawyers representing VW consumers who have been let down so badly.”
Kevin Timms, Solicitor

It is currently unclear the impact on vehicle performance and fuel economy the mechanical and software fixes will have. 

Kevin Timms added:
Expert Opinion
“With the decision to modify the vehicles affected by these issues, it is important that consumers are given comprehensive information about exactly what the component and software fixes will comprise and the impact that the fixes will have on their vehicles, including their performance and fuel efficiency.

“Any changes to the performance and fuel economy of the vehicles brought about by bringing the emission levels to legal levels will need to be carefully calculated, as consumers will rightfully expect to be compensated for changes to the way their vehicles function.

“It is still also unclear as to how much the value of these vehicles has been affected and the impact the proposed modifications will have on future values. It is absolutely vital that VW agrees to compensate the financial losses incurred by its consumers.

“Many may be left with vehicles that will reduce in value still further after they have been recalled and ‘fixed’ due to any reduced performance or fuel economy. If so, future buyers are likely to be put off further from buying these affected vehicles, making them harder to sell and pushing the market value down still further.”
Kevin Timms, Solicitor

For more information and to register for updates and advice from our legal experts on the issue, visit our specialist page.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a defective product, our expert personal injury solicitors could help you claim compensation. View our Defective Product Claims page for more information.