BERLIN – Carmaker Volkswagen is to begin negotiations with German consumer groups to address possible compensation related to the company’s emissions scandal.
The manufacturing giant in 2015 admitted it had used software to manipulate emissions data in its diesel engines to meet road standards during testing.
Germany’s association of consumer organizations (VZBV) said in a brief statement Thursday that talks were at an early stage and it was yet unclear whether the discussion, which both parties have agreed to keep confidential, would lead to compensation for consumers affected by the scandal.
The VZBV and the General German Automobile Club (ADAC) filed a lawsuit against VW at a court in Braunschweig on behalf of 400,000 diesel car owners.
Upon opening the trial in September 2019, Judge Michael Neef suggested the two parties first try to settle out of court.
There are almost 60 objects of litigation in the class-action suit.
The case will decide whether the consumers have a right to compensation. If so, it could apply to owners of VW cars and the company’s subsidiaries, like Audi, Seat and Skodas equipped with EA 189 engines, which were fitted with the manipulation device.
The principal argument brought by the plaintiffs is that their cars lost value because of the scandal.
For this reason, time is not on their side, as the longer it takes to resolve, the less the cars will be worth.
Around 11 million vehicles worldwide – some 2.5 million in Germany – were installed with the device that kept NOx emissions down to US standards during testing only.
Out on the road, however, the devices were deactivated, meaning the emissions were much higher in reality.
The German company opened up about the scandal on 22 September 2015, days after US authorities uncovered the use of devices.
It led to a slew of court cases around the world that have seen the German companies pay billions of dollars in legal costs.