A bid for compensation has been started against Volkswagen by a group of British motorists who believe they were misled into buying cars with higher nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions than they thought.
Around 1.2 million Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda diesel models produced between 2009 and 2015 were affected by the dieselgate emissions scandal in the UK. That means if the group legal action succeeds, it could result in a payout of around £30m.
The action is being brought because VW has so far declined to offer any compensation to owners of affected cars in the UK because the vehicles did not breach EU emissions regulations.
However, in the USA, where stricter regulations are in place, VW has paid out around £12 billion to owners, with some customers receiving up to £8000 in compensation.
Read our guide to the emissions scandal
Legal company Harcus Sinclair, working with Slater Gordon, is representing the UK owners under the group name VW Emissions Action. A spokesperson from Slater Gordon stated: “VW Emissions Action argues that VW deliberately deceived millions of customers by installing so-called ‘defeat devices’, which fooled emissions tests and meant affected vehicles produced up to 40 times the legal limit of deadly Nitrogen Oxide (NOx).”
VW UK has stated that it intends to defend the claim robustly. In a statement responding to the group action, it stated: “Technical measures have already been developed by the Volkswagen Group for vehicles affected by the NOx emissions issue and approved in principle by the relevant certifying authorities. Final approvals have also been provided by the authorities in respect of the vast majority of the affected models. The technical measures have already been implemented in a large number of our UK customers’ vehicles.
“Importantly, for the vast majority of model variants for which final approval has already been provided, the relevant certifying authorities have confirmed that implementation of the technical measures has no impact on MPG, CO2 emissions, engine performance, maximum torque and noise emissions. Furthermore, as a number of independent bodies (including motoring publications and used car values specialists) have noted, we expect no decline in the residual values of the affected vehicles as a result of this issue.”
The application for the group action will be heard by the High Court on 30 January.
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