Car owners affected by the VW Group emissions scandal have been given a deadline to make a claim against the company.
The High Court of Justice has set a final date of October 26, 2018 for owners to make a compensation claim as part of a group litigation against the group.
An estimated 1.2 million British owners of VW, Audi Seat and Skoda cars were affected by the scandal, which saw vehicles with certain engines fitted with a “defeat device” designed to circumvent America emissions tests.
The devices detected when a car was under testing conditions and altered the engine’s operation to reduced nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions. Under regular driving the emissions returned to far higher levels.
The affected cars
Diesel cars and vans from VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda fitted with the EA189 Euro 5 engine in 1.2, 1.6 or 2.0-litre capacity
In America, the VW Group agreed a multi-billion-dollar settlement with owners of affected vehicles but insists that cars fitted with the devices didn’t break EU emissions laws and that owners have no legal basis for a claim against it as they have suffered “no loss or damage” as a result of actions to “fix” the device.
However, thousands of owners claim to have suffered problems since having the software update applied to their vehicles, including reduced performance, increased fuel consumption and even vehicles suddenly going into “limp home” mode.
And lawyers leading the group litigation claim that the devices may still have broken EU laws by making it appear that cars met the Euro 5 emissions standard when, according to them, testing has not verified this.
Aman Johal, of Your Lawyers, which is one of three firms leading the action in England and Wales, says that owners could be able to claim anywhere up to 100 per cent of the purchase price of their car if the case is successful.
He said: “The group action against Volkswagen is now live and I urge owners and former owners of affected vehicles to sign up.
Volkswagen must be held to account for its reprehensible actions and we need as many people to join the action as possible in order increase the pressure upon Volkswagen to do the morally right thing and compensate owners and former owners.”
Responding to news of the deadline, a VW spokesperson told the Sun Online: “Our consistent position has been that the instigation of UK legal proceedings was both premature and unfounded, and that we will robustly defend any such litigation.
“There is no legal basis for customer claims in connection with the diesel matter. Our UK customers have not suffered any loss or damage as a result of the NOx issue. The vehicles are safe and roadworthy, and perform as advertised. The required approvals are available and have not been withdrawn.
“Implementation of the voluntary service campaign is ongoing. The residual value of the vehicles has been not affected as a result of the diesel issue.
“We have implemented the technical measures in over 840,000 vehicles in the UK (out of 1.2 million affected) and in approximately 6.4 million vehicles across Europe, with the overwhelming majority of customers in question fully satisfied.”