Compensation momentum grows as VW ordered to buy back emissions-cheating Skoda by German court

January 20, 2017

A second German court in a month has ordered Volkswagen Group to provide compensation over the emissions-cheating scandal.  

The statement from the three judges uses harsh language almost never found in court releases, underlining phrases such as ‘illegal manipulation of engine control’ and ‘illicit deviation of pertinent rules.’  

The court in Hildesheim, only about an hour's drive from Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg, has ruled that Volkswagen must buy back a customer’s  2.0l diesel Skoda Yeti, paying the buyer the full price of his car, estimated at26,500.  

The court says that Volkswagen intentionally committed fraud, and therefore cannot defend itself by saying it has not clarified who was responsible for software that allowed the vehicle to cheat on emissions tests.  

The 68-year-old customer bought the Yeti crossover from a dealership in 2013, according to local media. He took Volkswagen to court claiming that the car's value had been reduced by a fix applied to its engine software following a recall.  

The suit argues that the plaintiff did not receive a legally compliant vehicle, even though it was in accordance with the contract of sale. As a result, he is entitled to reimbursement of the full purchase price and not only an inferior value.  

The judges compared the scandal to the 2013 horsemeat scandal, where illegal horse meat was found in products such as frozen lasagne. They also compared it to the use of glycol antifreeze as a sweetener in wine in the 1980s.  

Volkswagen spokesman Nicolai Laude said the carmaker is sure the ruling will be overturned at appeal, because the judges took a view that has been rejected by courts in other cities, including Cologne and Ellwangen.  

According to the law firm Rogert & Ulbrich, which represents the Skoda driver, Volkswagen is for the first time outside of warranty aspects, successfully being called out for its damaging acts in civil law. Previous complaints of this kind would not have been successful.  

The judges in Hildesheim also backed arguments another group of lawyers have put forward in a 'sample suit' that is seeking payouts for thousands of Volkswagen customers. That complaint, filed in Brunswick in Volkswagen's home state, relies on civil tort law, rather than contracts, to allow more drivers to sue the company. Suits intended to compensate thousands of Volkswagen customers have been launched in Germany and the UK. The total cost of the scandal has now reached $20 billion (€19 billion) in the US alone.

Also in News & Insights

UPDATE: News & Insights have moved to the Autovista Group website

March 31, 2017

Our regular automotive industry News & Insights are no longer being published on the Autovista Group Market Reports website.

Instead, you can now find the latest updates at our central Autovista Group website, home to our pan-European brands including Autovista, Eurotax, Glass's and Schwacke.

To stay up to date with rapidly changing market trends, we recommend signing up to our free Autovista Group Daily Brief which delivers our daily news stories directly to your inbox.

You can still find our in depth market reports here on the Autovista Group Market Reports site. Keep checking back as we have an exciting new report due to be launched shortly!

PSA to boost UK presence in the event of a ‘hard Brexit'

March 08, 2017

UK sales flat despite upcoming road tax hike, diesel demand plummets

March 08, 2017

UK new car registrations fell annually by 0.3% in February to 83,115 units according to the SMMT, driven down by weaker demand from individuals and companies. More noticeable, however, was the 9.2% drop in demand for diesels compared to February 2016, a steeper drop than the decline in Germany...