Many consumer class action lawsuits are being filed on behalf of Volkswagen (VW) and Audi diesel car owners, after bombshell revelations from the auto giant earlier this week. These aggrieved owners are seeking damages for diminution of diesel car value, and other deceptive consumer claims resulting from the German auto maker’s shocking confession that it installed cheating software or defeat devices designed to bypass stringent emissions standards.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America Inc. on September 18, 2015. The EPA noted that VW’s four-cylinder diesel cars from model year 2009 to 2015 were installed with special software designed to bypass EPA emissions standards for diesel car engine air pollutants.
Over 11 Million Affected Cars Worldwide
There are more than 11 million affected cars worldwide, with the so called “clean diesel” engine. And according to Volkswagen and Audi there are nearly 500,000 of the fake smog evading vehicles sold in the U.S.
What is VW’s Diesel Smog Defeat Device Technology?
The defeat devices are computer software fixes that determines when the diesel vehicle is being tested for the annual smog emissions test and turns full emissions controls on only during the test. The software is not active during normal car use and the vehicles pump out highly toxic and noxious nitrogen oxide polluting gases at up to 40 times the allowable limit under the Clean Air Act.
VW Damage Control
As the outrageous facts came to light by the EPA investigation, VW had tried to limit the fallout, by getting rid of the executives involved and the CEO has resigned.
VW Consumer Class Action Filed
One Volkswagen class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on September 23. The lawsuit seeks class action status to represent all VW-Audi car owners nationwide who bought cars with a “defeat device” installed, including 2009-2015 VW Jetta, 2009-2015 VW Beetle, 2009-2015 VW Golf, 2004-2015 VW Passat and 2009-2015 Audi A3 vehicles.
According to the lawsuit, Volkswagen intentionally misrepresented their “clean diesel vehicles” as being superior alternative to hybrid vehicles. The lawsuit alleges that Volkswagen tacked on a significant price premium over similarly equipped gasoline cars, in some instances as high as $6,000. Many VW diesel consumers are environmentally conscious and these cars offered better performance than the hybrids.
The lawsuit alleges that, “By manufacturing and selling cars with defeat devices that allowed for higher levels of emissions than were certified to the EPA, Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act, defrauded its customers, and engaged in unfair competition and deceptive and misleading conduct under state and federal laws.”
EPA Potential Record $18 Billion Fine
According to the EPA, they have the power under the Clean Air Act, to impose as much as $18 billion in civil penalties and fines along with criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.
The EPA has recalled the 500,000 affected vehicles sold in the U.S. with the defeat device software and has also demanded that Volkswagen stop the sales of the defective cars.
Volkswagen has set aside $7.3 billion to cover the cost of the fixes, but according to car industry insiders that amount could not even cover the expenses the automaker will be exposed to if all 11 million diesel vehicles equipped with defeat devices are recalled.
Shezad Malik is an Internal Medicine and Cardiology specialist, a licensed Texas Medical Doctor and Defective Medical Device and Dangerous Drug Attorney. Dr Shezad Malik Law Firm has offices based in Fort Worth and Dallas and represents people who have suffered catastrophic and serious personal injuries including wrongful death, caused by the negligence or recklessness of others.