UK Dieselgate class action suit launched, could cost VW billions of pounds

January 10, 2017

UK consumers have launched a class-action lawsuit that could cost Volkswagen billions of pounds, as European attempts to gain compensation for the company's emissions scandal appear to be gaining steam.  

The news comes as the FBI says that Volkswagen managers directly authorised the concealment of the diesel test cheating, and US prosecutors plan to charge high-level company executives based in Germany over the scandal. The executives may not still work for the company.  

The group of 10,000 UK Volkswagen owners have filed a class action lawsuit, seeking £3,000 (€3,460) each. If Volkswagen had to pay that amount to each of the 1.2 million people who own affected cars, which include Volkswagen Group’s Skoda, Audi and SEAT brands, the compensation would cost the group about £3.6 billion (€4.2 billion).  

Volkswagen said it would ‘robustly contest the claims.  

The UK action follows a lawsuit launched to compensate German consumers, which involves a US law firm.  

The application for a group litigation order is being undertaken by two law firms, Harcus Sinclair and Slater and Gordon, in the High Court later this month. Group litigation orders are similar to US class action lawsuits.  

Harcus Sinclair said it was basing its estimate of the level of compensation owners could get on the €5,000  per owner awarded in Spain and the $8,000-10,000 (€7600-9,500) awarded in the US.  

The firm hopes that the marketing and publicity surrounding Monday's launch will encourage more drivers to sign up to the action. It also said it was talking to other law firms about joining forces to avoid cost duplication.  

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, NOx emissions cause 23,000 premature deaths in the UK each year. 

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