Volkswagen Emissions Claim Update

Volkswagen has yesterday agreed to offer “substantial compensation” and car buy-back deals as part of a settlement of the diesel emissions scandal to US owners.

The US government have struck a deal with the automaker for them to buy back some of the nearly 600,000 affected diesel cars, they have also reportedly agreed to spend just over $1bn to compensate owners. Details of exactly how much car owners would be offered in compensation were not disclosed, but owners were assured that it would be a “substantial” amount.

Details of the preliminary agreement were announced in a California court; US district court Judge Charles Breyer said that the settlement would include a buyback offer for nearly 500,000 2.0-litre vehicles as well as an offer to repair the vehicles.

This news will not be of any consolation to affected vehicle owners in the UK however, Volkswagen have so far maintained that they do not plan on offering UK owners any compensation of any type. The reasoning being that the fix to VW cars in the UK will have no impact on performance or economy, whereas in the US, the cars need the fix in order to legally pass the more stringent emissions standards applied to all new cars.

VW group are clearly coming under considerably more pressure in the USA than they are in the UK/EU following this scandal, and consequently it would appear that this is having a knock on effect with VW’s approach to its UK customers.

The authorities in the USA have taken a much stricter approach to how they are dealing with Volkswagen. They have accused VW of not co-operating with their investigations and rejected VW’s plan to fix affected cars due to concerns that the plans did not adequately address the impact on fuel consumption and performance issues; in addition, the US Justice Department has launched a legal action against VW in relation to violations of the Clean Air Act which could leave VW facing fines of $46billion.

When you compare this to the actions of EU authorities, who have seemingly agreed to the proposed fix without too much difficulty, it would appear that they have given VW a much easier ride.

This of course is partly down to the fact that we have a much softer regulatory regime in place within the EU, and we understand that this is currently being looked into. However this will come of little comfort to the affected EU vehicle owners, who cannot be blamed for feeling like they have been given the short end of the stick in this matter.

At Michael Lewin Solicitors we also consider the contrasting treatment between UK and USA owners to be extremely unfair. The goodwill payments and buy-back scheme offered to US owners have not made their way over to the EU, nor do they appear to be on their way in the near future.

This is despite that fact that UK consumers have clearly been driving highly polluting vehicles unbeknownst to them for several years after being mis-sold the vehicle in the first place. This has left them in a scenario by which they are being forced to wait up to a year to have their vehicles fixed which will no doubt be a further inconvenience.

It is because of this that Michael Lewin Solicitors are still interested in hearing from vehicle owners that have been affected by the emissions scandal and are still looking to pursue legal action against Volkswagen group. Please feel free to get in touch with us through the form opposite, call us on 0844 499 9302 or simply email us (enquiries@michaellewin.co.uk).

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