This past Tuesday, the U.S. Government announced a $14.7 billion settlement with the automobile manufacturer, Volkswagen, settling claims that the company used illegal devices to defeat and inaccurately pass diesel engine emissions tests. The settlement is the largest automobile settlement ever in U.S. history, and is drawing international attention. Countries all over the world are now taking action against Volkswagen, demanding compensation and justice for buyer around the globe.
The European Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska released a statement that, “Volkswagen should voluntarily pay European car owners compensation…comparable with that which they will pay U.S. consumers.” Bienkowska also said that, “Treating consumers in Europe differently than the U.S. consumers is no way to earn back trust.” Volkswagen has repeatedly said that it sees no reason to compensate European customers because of the differences in U.S. and European law and environmental standards. The faulty vehicles in the U.S. do not violate European emissions standards.
Volkswagen is facing other legal trouble in Europe as well. The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund issued a statement through which it announced intent to join class-action lawsuits against Volkswagen. Several lawsuits have been filed in Germany on behalf of investors, but as the German courts have a stricter process than the U.S., it is not known at this time if the class-action lawsuits will go forward. Volkswagen is recalling more than three million vehicles in Europe to remove the defeat devices and install gas particle filters to make the vehicles compliant with the law.
South Korea issued a warrant for the arrest of Volkswagen Korea executive, identified only by the surname “Yun”, for allegedly fabricating documents, falsifying diesel car pollution tests, and violating the Air Quality Preservation Act. This is the first warrant in the world to be issued against a Volkswagen executive involved in the emissions scandal. South Korea has also expressed desire to join in with U.S. and German lawsuits and complaints against Volkswagen. South Korea has filed a criminal complaint against two other VW executives, fining $14.1 billion and ordering the recall of 125,522 vehicles. About 4,400 Korean consumers have filed lawsuits against the automaker as well.
If you wish to learn more about the Volkswagen emissions scandal and the action being taken against the automaker internationally and in the U.S., contact Louisville, KY auto product liability lawyer Tad Thomas of Thomas Law Offices for more information or see our other blog posts regarding the Volkswagen cases.