VW has admitted installing software in millions of its vehicles designed to give misleading emissions data when the vehicle is tested. This dramatic news will inevitably lead to much litigation around the world. It is recalling nearly 500,000 cars in the US alone. But this is not a problem limited to the US market. Half of the cars sold by VW are in Europe.
What are the consequences of this deliberate act of corporate misbehaviour?
The vehicles in question will have emitted more particles and noxious gases than would have happened if they had given true data in the tests because they have passed tests which they should have failed. These vehicles would not have been allowed on the roads without medication. This will have led to additional damage to the environment and deaths which might otherwise have been prevented. More fuel will have been burned. Consumers have bought cars that they might otherwise have not bought or have paid more than the fair price for the vehicle.
There will now be formal enquiries by the governments of the countries involved which are bound to lead to adverse findings and punitive fines.
Consumers will have claims for their cars to be repaired to correct the emissions, for refunds of excess fuel consumed and loss of value in the car they have bought and retained
There could be millions of claims leading to billions of pounds/euros/dollars in compensation. VW have set aside €6.5bn (£4.7bn) for the costs of this scandal.
Our experience of handling group action claims – MMR litigation, Claims to Irish Redress Board and Pandemrix litigation tells us this case will run and run….