On September 22, 2015, the CEO of Volkswagen Group of America admitted that the company “totally screwed up” by tricking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and customers into believing that VW’s diesel products complied with federal emissions standards.

EPA regulators claim that between 2008 and 2015, VW installed software in nearly 500,000 diesel cars in the U.S. that allowed them to emit pollutants above federal limits, but reduced the level of those pollutants during emissions tests.

11 million vehicles are involved.

In a scandal that has worldwide impact, the international automaker revealed that some 11 million vehicles — 20 times more than initially suggested — were rigged to skirt important environmental standards in a way that is arguably contrary to VW’s advertising claims of “clean diesel” cars. The United States is VW’s second-largest market, with thousands of vehicle owners now at risk of financial loss; since 2009, VW has sold more than 482,000 clean diesel cars with a four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection engine including versions of the Passat, Jetta, Golf, Beetle, and Audi A3

What was the motive behind VW’s unlawful actions? Greed.

Diesel vehicles are widely popular in Europe due to government policies that make diesel fuels less expensive than gasoline and emissions standards lower than those in the U.S. In an apparent effort to thwart tougher emission standards and avoid higher costs, VW equipped its diesel vehicles with specially programmed software to fool U.S. environmental regulators and officials.

Will VW Diesel Owners Be Fairly Compensated?

Now that the fraud has been uncovered, the company has set aside approximately $7.3 billion dollars — what amounts to half of its worldwide revenues — to cover the cost of bringing the cars into compliance with governing pollution standards. Additionally, the EPA could levy fines as high as $18 billion, and the U.S. Department of Justice is considering criminal charges against VW.

But the larger question looms: will there be enough to compensate U.S. owners for the expected loss in value of their diesel vehicles and the increased difficulty in reselling those vehicles in the future?

We are actively investigating claims of current VW diesel car owners to determine their right to recover damages for the company’s fraud and deceit. If you own a VW diesel vehicle (Passat, Jetta, Golf, Beetle, or Audi A3) manufactured between 2008 and 2015, please contact us today at 248.355.0300 or VWlawsuit@sommerspc.com today to discuss your right to compensation.


Photo Credit: The Car Spy, Wikimedia Commons

Jason J. Thompson

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Jason J. Thompson

Jason Thompson is a nationally board certified trial attorney and co-chairs Sommers Schwartz’s Complex Litigation Department. He has a formidable breadth of litigation experience, including class action and multidistrict litigation (MDL), and practices nationwide in both state and federal courts.