Dieselgate: German VW resellers can now claim compensation | News | DW | 20.07.2021
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Dieselgate: German VW resellers can now claim compensation

Volkswagen owners in Germany who subsequently sold their cars can still claim compensation connected to the "Dieselgate" emissions scandal, a top German court has ruled.

A German number plate with the word diesel on it

Dieselgate has hit German car manufacturers hard in recent years

Volkswagen diesel car owners in Germany who sold their cars can still be entitled to compensation from the carmaking giant, the countryꞌs federal court ruled on Tuesday.

Germanyꞌs Federal Court of Justice (BGH) said that people who bought a Volkswagen would still have been negatively affected by the vehicle's falsified emissions data, even if they resold it before the lawsuits were settled.

The decision refers to the discovery of VW, and several other manufacturers, as it later transpired, using technology which lowered vehicle nitrogen oxide emissions during testing.

What were the details of this latest case?

Tuesday's verdict focused on two individuals in particular whose eligibility for compensation was in question. 

In one case, the owner had since sold their Volkswagen. However, the court ruled that this did not discount them from receiving compensation, only that the re-sale price should also be deducted from the sum, as well as mileage and depreciation.

In the other case, the owner had not only sold the VW, but also received an additional trade-in bonus at the dealership while buying a new car. Here, the court ruled that the exchange bonus was unconnected to the car or its value and so the seller could pocket that sum without an impact on damages owed by VW.

VW said that Tuesday's rulings could affect around 1,000 open cases in Germany.

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Federal judges also threw out a case for damages against car parts supplier Bosch because it supplied the emission test cheating software central to the Dieselgate scandal. The judges ruled there was no reason to believe Bosch was complicit in VW's plans to use its software to deceive emissions testers.

What was the Dieselgate scandal about?

Testers in California discovered in 2015 that Volkswagen's diesel vehicles were putting out more pollutants than emission tests showed.

Although Volkswagen bosses said it was a glitch at first, further investigation revealed that it was part of an engineering conspiracy designed specifically to make the cars perform better in test conditions than in the real world.

The discovery snowballed into a worldwide scandal.

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Volkswagen was taken to court in various countries around the world leading to top bosses including the then-CEO Martin Winterkorn losing their posts.

A string of lawsuits in Germany have sought to ascertain VW's liability to customers who bought cars expecting them to be kinder to the environment. Most people who bought a new VW diesel prior to news of the scandal emerging have been found eligible for some compensation, those who purchased after the news broke in 2015 are not.

As of June 2021, the company had lost over $33 billion worldwide in fines, penalties, financial settlements and buyback costs for the emissions deceit.

jc/msh (dpa, Reuters)

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