A group of 10,000 UK-based motorists are pursuing legal action against VW over the company’s use of ‘defeat devices’ to cheat emissions tests. The claimants are seeking £3,000 each, bringing the total value of the claim to £30 million. However, should the action be extended to the 1.2 billion UK motorists who own VW vehicles, it could end up costing VW upwards of $3 billion.
The carmaker has already reached a £15 billion settlement with around 500,000 US drivers in relation to the scandal. However, an equivalent settlement has not been reached with drivers in the United Kingdom and Europe, with the company instead offering to fix affected vehicles. However, the class action lawsuit will argue that UK motorists are due financial compensation for the extra money they paid for what they then believed were ‘greener’ diesel cars.
Harcus Sinclair is leading the litigation effort with assistance from Slater and Gordon, Irwin Mitchell and Leigh Day. The firm’s head of litigation Damon Parker said in a statement: ‘The group action aims to ensure that, if VW is found to have misled consumers about the environmental damage caused by their cars, they are penalised accordingly so as to discourage this sort of behaviour from happening again.’ He added: ‘Getting their cars fixed is not enough… the damage to the environment has been done.’
Harcus Sinclair lodged an application for a group litigation order (GLO) on 9 January, with the application set to be heard by the High Court on 30 January. Volkswagen has instructed a Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer team led by partner John Blain to contest the GLO.