Tens of thousands of motorists have accused Volkswagen of fitting its cars with software to cheat emissions tests, as the UK’s biggest class action case kicked off at the High Court this morning.
British drivers who bought Volkswagen diesel vehicles are seeking compensation following the Dieselgate emissions scandal.
In September 2015 the German car making giant said that 11m cars worldwide, including almost 1.2m in the UK, were affected.
“This trial will establish once and for all whether VW installed prohibited ‘defeat devices’ in affected vehicles and is a significant milestone in our clients’ attempts to hold VW accountable in the UK,” Gareth Pope, head of group litigation at law firm Slater and Gordon, which is representing more than 70,000 customers, said.
The High Court action, which is expected to last for two weeks, will examine whether the software installed in Volkswagen cars can be classed as a “defeat device” under EU regulators.
It will also determine whether the High Court is bound by the finding of the German regulator that the software was a “defeat device”.
The company agreed to pay up to $25bn in the US to settle claims and has offered to buy back 500,000 vehicles in the country, however it has not reached a deal in Europe and has offered a software update.
The company argues that it has not broken English law.
“Volkswagen Group continues to defend robustly its position in the High Court in London,” the company said in a statement.
“It remains Volkswagen Group’s case that the claimants did not suffer any loss at all and that the affected vehicles did not contain a prohibited defeat device.
“The hearing will not affect any questions of liability or loss.”
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