VOLKSWAGEN FACES a class action lawsuit from 10,000 British drivers, who say the German car maker misled them into paying extra for diesel cars that were more polluting than they were claimed to be.
Two law firms are leading the application for a group litigation order in the High Court, later this month. The firms, Harcus Sinclair and Slater and Gordon, are seeking compensation for British owners or former owners of models affected by the dieselgate emissions scandal.
Based on compensation payouts agreed for American and Spanish drivers – around £8,000 in the US and £4,000 in Spain – the firms estimate they could achieve compensation of about £3,000 for each British driver caught up in dieselgate.
If successful, the action could open to the road to a £3bn payout. About 1.2m drivers in the UK were affected by the scandal. And approximately 900,000 owners of VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda models are still waiting for their car to be repaired.
Readers of The Sunday Times Driving have shared their concerns and frustrations with the Volkswagen Group, often complaining that VW’s response to dieselgate has left much to be desired, with poor communication and year-long delays for the free repairs that the company has agreed to carry out.
Jacqueline Young, head of group litigation at Slater and Gordon, said: “VW has shown utter contempt, not just for the rights and health of their UK consumers but also for the environment. This legal action is the best opportunity that British customers will have for holding VW to account over this scandal.”
Volkswagen says it intends to “defend such claims robustly”.
Vickie Sheriff, director of campaigns and communications at Which? says VW must not be let off the hook: “Volkswagen customers in the UK will rightly question why US consumers are getting compensation and there is still nothing is on the table for the 1.2m owners affected in this country.”
Sheriff also criticised the government for failing to hold VW to account after the dieselgate revelations unfolded.