Volkswagen Emissions Scandal: Lawyers Warn Millions Could Be Affected

Concerned Consumers Urged To Seek Advice


Specialist product liability lawyers have warned that the emerging scandal regarding Volkswagen (VW) cheating emissions tests for some of its vehicles could affect potentially millions of people who drive the company’s diesel cars.
VW confirmed last week that it had rigged emissions tests in the US by installing software within its vehicles to provide more positive results, with chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigning as a result of the concerns. The company is also being investigated by German authorities and other regulators across the globe.

It has also since emerged that 11 million cars worldwide have been fitted with the same software, known as the ‘defeat device’ – potentially meaning vehicles do not meet recognised regulations in relation to emissions.

Affected models could include VW-produced cars such as the Golf, Beetle, Jetta, and Passat. Audi, which uses the same engine, has stated 2.1 million cars worldwide are fitted with the same software including its A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5.

Following the revelations, Switzerland has chosen to ban sales of VW diesel cars, while German newspaper Bild reported that motor parts supplier Bosch claims to have warned VW as early as 2007 regarding the use of the offending software.
Specialist product liability lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, who represent people sold unsatisfactory quality products of all kinds, have warned that the legal consequences could be massive.

Expert Opinion
“From a European and UK perspective, the key issue at present is to determine whether vehicles fitted with the software behind this controversy passed tests despite producing emissions higher than legally permitted.

“If this is identified, there are numerous potential legal implications. These include claims by purchasers of VW cars for breach of contract or misrepresentation, as they would essentially have been sold a vehicle on the pretence that it meets key UK and EU regulations regarding emissions. Claims could be made by consumers against VW or its dealerships, both VW owned or franchised. Dealerships and VW shareholders are also likely to bring claims against VW for their financial losses.

“Consumers may also be entitled to claim for repair costs to rectify the issue, and the possibility that the value of their VW or Audi vehicle could depreciate quicker as a result of what has happened.

“The scale of these issues appear to be unprecedented but, as mentioned, the primary concern at the moment must be understanding just how many vehicles are affected in the UK.

“We would urge anyone with concerns regarding issues with VW or Audi vehicles to seek expert legal advice. Irwin Mitchell has established a register of those affected and will provide concerned individuals with updates on their rights and the legal redress available.”
Kevin Timms, Solicitor

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