German High Court Rules Against Volkswagen in “Dieselgate” Case

  • This follows an earlier decision by a regional court in Coblenz, which both parties appealed.
  • The Federal Court's decision may be a principle decision for approximately 60,000 people who are plaintiffs against Volkswagen.
  • VW previously reached an agreement with U.S. owners in 2016.

Germany’s Federal Court (BGH) upheld a lower court decision against Volkswagen (VW), ruling a customer could be reimbursed for the partial value of his car. Five years after the emission scandal “Dieselgate,” related to the German automotive trust was exposed, the BGH rewarded Herbert Gilbert €25,600, plus interest, upon the return of his car to Volkswagen.

The Volkswagen emissions scandal, also known as Dieselgate or Emissionsgate, began in September 2015, when the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to German automaker Volkswagen Group. The agency had found that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines to activate their emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing. This caused the vehicles to meet US standards during regulatory testing, but emit up to 40 times more pollution in real-world driving. 

This follows an earlier decision by a regional court in Coblenz. Gilbert had demanded a refund of the entire €31,500 purchase price for his VW Sharan, which he purchased in 2014. Both parties appealed to the BGH.

In the Federal Court in Karlsruhe, Germany, lead judge Stephan Seiters explained the reason for the decision, that VW “for many years systematically brought vehicles onto the market whose software was programmed so that they only met [emissions] limits under test conditions.”

It is stated that the Federal Court’s decision may be a principle decision for approximately 60,000 people who are plaintiffs against Volkswagen. Claus Goldenstein, the lawyer of the claimant VW user, said that the decision was not only for VW customers but also for customers of all brands using similar illegal software in their cars.

“This judgement means legal certainty for millions of consumers and shows once again that even a huge corporation isn’t above the law,” Goldenstein said in a statement. Around 240,000 VW car owners have previously agreed to the settlement between the company and the German Consumer Protection Center, and accepted compensation that VW has committed to pay. This deal will cost VW €750 million.

In the scandal that broke out in September 2015, Volkswagen acknowledged that more than 11 million vehicles were manipulating the emission system as a result of pressure from American authorities. The diesel-powered cars were modified with special software to cheat emissions tests.

Volkswagen, shortened to VW, is a German automaker founded in 1937 by the German Labour Front, a Nazi labour union, and headquartered in Wolfsburg. It is the flagship marque of the Volkswagen Group, the largest automaker by worldwide sales in 2016 and 2017.

VW’s 2016 Agreement with the U.S.

In one of the most difficult times in Volkswagen’s postwar history, the automobile manufacturer took a heavy responsibility towards its American customers 2016. Volkswagen reached an agreement with government authorities to eliminate customer grievances arising from the emission scandal in the United States.

In the settlement reached shortly after the suit was filled by the American judiciary on the issue, Volkswagen accepted many concessions, including the buyback of the vehicles. Judge Charles Breyer, who made statements on the subject in the city of San Francisco, announced that Volkswagen users were given the choice between a buyback or a free fix and compensation, if a repair becomes available.

Breyer stressed that the agreement reached 480,000 vehicle owners with 2.0-liter diesel engine. Some 80,000 vehicle owners with 3.0-liter volumes were not included in the agreement. Experts say the deal cost Volkswagen company billions of euros, but due to the end of the judicial process, the firm survived the emission scandal in the US with a relatively lower financial loss.

Only $1/click

Submit Your Ad Here

Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

Leave a Reply