VW ordered to pay customer full vehicle value in Dieselgate ruling

28 November 2018

28 November 2018

A court in Germany has ruled that Volkswagen (VW) must reimburse the owner of a diesel Golf the full original value of his vehicle bought in 2012, as legal battles over the diesel scandal drag on.

VW said that it believes the court in Augsburg misapplied the law and that it would appeal the ruling at the higher regional court. The civil court ruled earlier this month that VW had acted immorally by deliberately installing emissions-cheating software to increase sales and profits.

Therefore, the carmaker was ordered to repay around €30,000 to the customer, the full value of the car when it was purchased new around six years ago.

“In our opinion, there is no legal basis for customer complaints. Customers have suffered neither losses nor damages. The vehicles are safe and roadworthy,” VW said in a statement.

It added that around 9,000 judgements had been issued in connection with its diesel-emissions scandal, which came to light in 2015, and the majority of customer complaints had been unsuccessful at district and higher courts.

“The decision of the district court in Augsburg thereby stands in contradiction to multiple decisions of other courts in comparable cases,” VW said.

VW had admitted that around 11 million diesel cars worldwide were fitted with software that could detect when a vehicle was on a test, and alter emissions profiles into a more favourable map mode, limiting pollutants projected. However, the company has also stated that while it admits that the software was used in the US, where it has been fined around $30 billion (€26.5 billion), it has done nothing wrong in Europe.

The German company has faced a number of lawsuits, with class-action court judgements pending in some countries. However, it has issued recalls ensuring vehicles fitted with the ′defeat device’ can have the software removed. This, in turn, has caused complaints, with drivers stating that ′fixed’ vehicles have further problems, including increased fuel consumption and a lack of power.

Other brands in the VW Group have been ordered to issue recalls for affected vehicles, while fellow German brand Daimler has also been told to bring vehicles in for emissions profiling following the discovery of potential issues.

Seatbelt issues

Meanwhile, VW has also been ordered to recall around 75,000 versions of its Polo, together with the platform-sharing SEAT Ibiza and Arona models, after a seatbelt fault was found by a Finnish car magazine test drive.

The publication found that when three passengers were in the back seats, and the car turned sharply, the centre-rear seatbelt failed. VW said the tests were under ′exceptional’ circumstances and had not been replicated or reported elsewhere. No one has been injured because of the fault.