You may have read about the group actions that are being brought in the English and Welsh, and the Scottish Courts against the Volkswagen Group and others, including Seat, ŠKODA and Audi in relation to the vehicles affected by the NOx issue, which came to light over five years ago.
You may also be aware that Volkswagen is convinced that those claimants suing us have not suffered any loss. We think it is important that we explain to you the reasons for this and why we have responded to the litigation in the way we have.
These legal actions will determine, amongst other things, whether or not Volkswagen owes customers financial damages as a result of the NOx issue.
The NOx issue relates to the fact that software was fitted in some older diesel vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen, and sold between 2007 and 2015, which affected the vehicles during testing.
We have, on numerous occasions, written to the owners of affected vehicles and have offered to implement the approved technical measures to update the software in question. We explain more here about the NOx issue and our response to it.
At all times, vehicles affected by the NOx issue were and are safe, roadworthy and legal to drive whether or not they have had the technical measures implemented. At all times the affected vehicles had and have approval from the relevant authorities, whether or not they have had the technical measures implemented. Customers have been able to buy and sell the relevant vehicles. Various industry commentators and independent reports have found that the value of the vehicles was not affected as a result of this issue.
Therefore, Volkswagen rejects, amongst other things that the Claimants are alleging, the allegation that those owners have suffered any loss or damage as a result of the NOx issue.
This is why we are defending ourselves in Court and will continue to do so.
Claimant law firms
The group of claimants in England and Wales is represented by a number of different law firms.
Some of these firms are backed by ‘litigation funders’. Litigation funders pay the, often high, lawyers’ fees for a case in return for a cut of the claimants’ financial award if the case is successful. Last year, the Judge in charge of the proceedings in England and Wales queried why the proposals for some of the claimants’ lawyers’ fees were so high.
Some of the claimants’ lawyers in England and Wales have also been criticised by the Court, which made a costs award against them due to their failure to organise themselves and their case. Joining the claim against Volkswagen involves handing these claimant lawyers your sensitive personal information – make sure you trust those you are handing it to before doing so.
There remain a number of important stages before the case in England and Wales will get to the full trial of liability and loss. This is not scheduled to take place before March 2022 and is likely to last several months.
It is not possible at present to join the group action against Volkswagen in England and Wales if you have not done so already.
Despite this, Volkswagen is aware that certain law firms are aggressively seeking to recruit new claimants. We are currently concerned that the information in their advertising may be misleading or wrong. We have expressed our concerns to the relevant law firms, however, many continue to publish such information on their websites and/or advertisements.
Our defence in the courts is, in part, based on our belief that customers have not suffered loss, as argued by the class action claimant lawyers. That is not the same as believing the NOx issue does not matter.
Maintaining the trust of our customers since the NOx issue has always been our priority. A key part of this is being transparent and explaining what is a complicated, but clear, legal position.
Volkswagen is grateful to all of the many customers who continue to buy our vehicles and put their trust in us.