Tens of thousands of British drivers on Monday alleged Volkswagen of fitting devices to cheat clean air laws at the beginning of the country’s biggest class-action lawsuit brought to deal with “dieselgate”.
VW was caught using unlawful software to cheat pollution tests in 2015, resulting in a global backlash against diesel and numerous court cases across the world that has so far cost the automaker 30 billion euros ($33 billion)
Volkswagen has stated about 11 million cars globally – and 1.2 million in Britain – were fitted with software that cheated diesel emissions tests created to limit noxious car fumes and carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution.
A hearing at the High Court is going to last for two weeks.
“This trial will establish once and for all if Volkswagen installed illegal ‘defeat devices’ in affected vehicles and is a significant milestone in our clients’ attempts to hold VW accountable in the UK,” stated Gareth Pope, head of group litigation at law firm Slater and Gordon. Slater and Gordon are representing over 70,000 Volkswagen customers.
The High Court will figure out two issues of law. Firstly if the software installed in vehicles was a “defeat device” under EU regulations and if the High Court is bound by the German Regulator’s finding that the software was a “defeat device.”
Volkswagen stated the answer to both cases was no.
“Volkswagen Group continues to defend robustly its position in the High Court in London,” it stated. “It remains Volkswagen Group’s case that the claimants did not suffer any loss at all and that the affected vehicles did not contain an illegal defeat device.
“The hearing will not affect any questions of liability or loss.”
Volkswagen accepted to pay up to $25 billion in the United States to settle claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers. It also offered to purchase back 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles.
But Volkswagen has not reached a similar deal in Europe and has instead offered to update the software.