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First UK legal move as Volkswagen announce 1.2m cars affected in UK

Lawyers for those affected by the Volkswagen emissions 'cheat' scandal announce that they've written to the German car manufacturer demanding a settlement scheme

Posted on 30 September 2015

The law firm investigating potential legal claims on behalf of hundreds of vehicle owners, and companies with fleets of cars, has announced that it has written to the new German CEO of Volkswagen demanding that the company agree to a full refund of the premium consumers have paid for their ‘clean’ diesel cars and compensation for other related losses.

The letter, addressed personally to the new VW boss Matthias Müller and lawyers for the group, claims that Volkswagen represented their clean diesel cars as compliant with EU emissions regulations, offering low fuel emissions (qualifying them for lower Vehicle Excise Duty) and giving good fuel economy.

The letter sent on 29 September 2015 states: “However, if it is found that defeat devices have been used in our clients’ vehicles, this undoubtedly amounts to a misrepresentation and a breach of contract.”

The news of the first UK legal move in the diesel scandal comes on the day that it was announced that 1,189,906 vehicles with the VW brand, Audi, Seat, Skoda and VW vans were affected and that a recall system would be set up by Volkswagen.

However, in the letter to Volkswagen Bozena Michalowska-Howells from the Consumer Law and Product Safety group at law firm Leigh Day, says:

“Whilst we welcome the news that repairs will be undertaken to upgrade the affected cars to comply with EU Nitrogen Dioxide emission standards, such repairs may result in reduced fuel efficiency and increased CO2 emissions which in turn may impact upon the Vehicle Excise Duty payable and other associated costs. Our clients are also very concerned about the impact of the use of defeat devices on the re-sale value of their cars.”    

The letter goes on to suggest that the German car manufacturer enters into negotiations to set up a settlement scheme “...so as to ensure that vehicle owners are appropriately and speedily compensated whilst minimising legal costs. We therefore propose that a roundtable meeting is held as soon as possible and we look forward to hearing from you to allow arrangements for the same to be made.