Dieselgate: Volkswagen reaches £193 million settlement with English and Welsh claimants

Almost seven years after the Dieselgate emissions scandal broke, English and Welsh drivers whose cars were affected have reached a settlement with Volkswagen Group...

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Volkswagen Group will pay £193m to approximately 91,000 drivers across England and Wales in an out-of-court settlement relating to Dieselgate.

The Dieselgate emissions scandal broke in 2015, when it emerged that ‘defeat’ devices were fitted to various VW vehicles powered by diesel engines to help them meet increasingly strict emissions standards.

The devices, which detected when the vehicles were being tested for emissions, could activate a setting which would reduce emissions during the test. In normal driving conditions, those engines then emitted more harmful pollutants than they would under testing. Investigations found that affected vehicles produced up to 40 times the legal limit of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx).

Around 1.2 million vehicles in the UK and 11 million worldwide are believed to have been affected, including cars made by Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen produced between 2009 and 2015. Affected vehicles were powered by 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesel engines.

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Volkswagen Group is said to have paid out more than €30bn (£26bn) in compensation relating to the scandal so far worldwide. In the US, some claims have resulted in owners achieving the equivalent of £7500 in compensation.

In relation to the UK settlement, Volkswagen has not accepted any liability, but said the legal costs of litigating the case were such that the settlement was the most prudent course of action.

In a statement, Volkswagen AG's Chief Legal Officer, Philip Haarmann, added that the brand was “pleased that we have been able to conclude this long-running litigation in England and Wales. The settlement is another important milestone as the Volkswagen Group continues to move beyond the deeply regrettable events leading up to September 2015”.

David Whitmore, CEO of Slater and Gordon, the law firm that represented the vast majority of English and Welsh claimants, said they were “immensely proud” of the result, and that the settlement avoids the need for a “lengthy, complex and expensive” trial process.

The English and Welsh claim was originally scheduled to proceed to trial in January 2023.

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