Volkswagen to payout £193 million in ‘Dieselgate’ settlement
German carmaker Volkswagen has agreed to pay £193 million to settle 91,000 legal claims linked to the ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal in England and Wales.
Each claimant will receive an average payment of more than £2,100. This is after the Volkswagen group, which includes brands such as Audi, Seat and Skoda, emitted more nitrogen dioxide (NO2) than they originally claimed. Nitrogen dioxide is a pollutant, which has been linked to respiratory diseases and premature death.
Not only will Volkswagen pay the settlement but also cover the claimants legal fees which are thought to be in the tens of millions of pounds.
The dieselgate scandal started in 2015 after Volkswagen was found to have installed “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests. This device would recognise when the vehicle was being tested and would decrease the emissions output when in reality, the emissions were up to 40x higher when driving in normal everyday conditions.
The carmakers have spent more than £26 billion in legal fees and payouts to customers, including a £12 billion settlement in the US. It has become one of the most expensive corporate scandals in history.
Lawyers said the claim would have been the biggest ever brought by a group of consumers in the UK, and was due to go to trial in January 2023. Even though Volkswagen has made no admission of liability, they said the legal costs of a six-month trial meant a settlement "was the most prudent course of action commercially".
A range of other carmakers face legal action for similar claims in the UK, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Stellantis, Nissan, Renault, Ford and Volvo. The total number of UK claimants is thought to be over 1 million.
VW’s chief legal officer, Philip Haarmann, said: “The Volkswagen Group is pleased that we have been able to conclude this long running litigation in England and Wales. The settlement is another important milestone as the Volkswagen Group continues to move beyond the deeply regrettable events leading up to September 2015.”
This case has paved the way for future claimants. Like many of the thousands of people out there, if you feel as if you were given false information at the time of purchase, then you should seek legal help to make a claim.
If you've been the owner of a diesel car or van in England or Wales that was made between 2007 and 2018, you may be eligible to join a group legal claim over emissions. That's even if you owned it outright or bought it on finance. You can visit our comprehensive guide on how to make an emissions claim along with several of the benefits here.