The Volkswagen Group continues its Dieselgate obligations in the UK as they entered an agreement last year with affected drivers in England and Wales. The carmaker agreed to pay around £193 million to customers who had to deal with the inconveniences of driving a diesel vehicle with a defeat device. Although VW did not admit liability, loss, or causation, they apologised to customers and vowed to keep working hard so the public will trust them again.
A GLO or group litigation order that involved approximately 91,000 drivers was brought to a High Court in connection with Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal involvement. VW is known as the first vehicle manufacturer to be embroiled in the Dieselgate scam that took the global automobile industry by surprise in 2015. US authorities accused the carmaker of putting defeat devices in Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles sold in the American car market. The devices are used to manipulate emissions during regulatory testing.
In the UK, drivers in England and Wales were deceived into believing that they bought high-performing, emissions-compliant diesel vehicles. They thought their Volkswagens, Audis, Seats, and Škodas were safe for driving on real roads. In reality, their vehicles were equipped with dual-mode software that automatically -albeit temporarily – lowered emissions while the cars were being tested in the lab.
The settlement means each claimant stands to receive around £2,120 as compensation. This may not be the final amount, however, as the German carmaker reportedly paid other fees and costs. Estimates point to £3,000 as the possible average payout for each affected driver.
Had Volkswagen not agreed to settle, there would have been a trial last January. This would have not only delayed compensation but also resulted in additional costs for the carmaker. Trials are often lengthy – six months at the least, excluding possible appeals so a settlement was the best option for VW.
The Volkswagen Group has spent billions in payoffs, including fines, buyback schemes, civil settlements, and compensation for drivers across the world. At the start of the diesel emissions scandal, the carmaker revealed that around 11 million cars were affected. Approximately 1.2 million of these were in the UK.
Despite the settlement, legal firms continue to call on affected drivers to exercise their right to file a diesel claim. Volkswagen is not the only carmaker that violated emissions regulations, many others have been implicated allegedly including French manufacturer Renault.
While Renault emissions claims are not as common as the VW claims yet, thousands of drivers have already taken the legal challenge against the carmaker. Now that VW has settled with UK drivers, Renault drivers in England and Wales are hoping that the French car manufacturer will take the cue and agree to settle with them as well.
As such, the Dieselgate fiasco continues as many other carmakers have yet to take responsibility for their errant practices that have caused problems for millions of car owners worldwide.
Reviewing the Dieselgate scandal
When the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered the defeat devices in VW and Audi vehicles in the US, they sent a notice of violation to the VW Group. They knew how dangerous defeat devices can be.
The device VW installed can sense if a vehicle is in the lab for testing. Once it does, emission levels are automatically reduced to match the limits that the World Health Organization set. So, what regulators will see is a high-powered, fuel-efficient, and emissions-compliant vehicle. The truth, though, is that this state is only good during testing conditions. Once the vehicle is out of the lab and on real roads, it starts emitting unlawful, dangerous amounts of nitrogen oxide (NOx), often 40 times above the legal limits.
NOx is a group of reactive gases that includes nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). Aside from aiding in the formation of acid rain and smog, and the production of ground-level ozone, nitrogen oxide also causes various health issues.
When a person is exposed to NOx emissions, the following impacts can hound them for life:
- Anxiety and depression
- Pulmonary oedema (fluid has already filled the lungs)
- Asphyxiation and laryngospasm
- Dementia (due to weakened cognitive skills)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature/Early death
Authorities believe that carmakers chose profit over their customers’ safety, which is why a diesel claim is necessary.
Is my diesel claim important? What is it about?
Your diesel claim is your legal right to hold your carmaker responsible for their illegal actions. It is important because it can:
- Bring across the message that defeat devices are illegal and dangerous, especially to diesel vehicle manufacturers
- Compensate you for all the inconveniences that the defeat device has caused you (and the people around you)
- Help reduce toxic, dangerous emissions by preventing carmakers from using defeat devices
If your emission claim is successful, the court will order your carmaker to pay you, the amount of which will depend on the details of your case.
As it can be a lengthy process, you should work with an emissions expert. However, your first step should be to verify if you are qualified to receive compensation. A visit to Emissions.co.uk will help do the trick as they have all the important details you need.