VW Emissions Violations

In September 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of violation stating that Volkswagen’s “clean diesel” vehicles had been equipped with defeat devices that allowed the vehicles to adjust their internal operations to limit emissions while undergoing emissions testing in order to pass certification tests, but then adjust operations during on-road driving, resulting in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that exceeded US standards by 9 to 40 times.  VW soon admitted that it had installed devices in approximately 11 million vehicles worldwide that affected emissions (referred to by government regulators as defeat devices).

U.S. Lawsuits

Hundreds of lawsuits were filed against VW in the United States.  In December 2015, all of the “clean diesel” cases against VW in the United States were consolidated into one large case, referred to as a Multidistrict Litigation, in San Francisco, California.  On February 25, 2016, the judge overseeing the Multidistrict Litigation ordered that by March 24, 2016, VW and the United States government regulators report whether they would be able to agree on a proposed fix for the defeat device.  The judge emphasized that he is greatly concerned about the pollution that is being emitted by the VW vehicles, and he stated that he wants a resolution as soon as possible.  In early March, VW announced that it did not anticipate being able to agree to a fix with regulators by March 24 and that it anticipated a fix was still several months away.

VW Position in Europe

While it offered US drivers a “Goodwill Package” consisting of a $500 credit and $500 to use at a VW dealership, VW has stated that it will not offer compensation or goodwill payments in Europe. Instead of addressing its deceit and abuse of the trust in Europe, VW insists that its violations are merely technical and that they owe nothing to their European customers.

Hausfeld LLP

Hausfeld LLP, the global litigation firm, has written to VW to urge VW treat its European customers equitably and fairly.  Hausfeld accompanied its letter with two reports. 

·   The first is an economics report demonstrating the harm inflicted in Europe by VW’s deceptive conduct.

·   The second is a technical report analyzing the difficulty that VW will face in creating a solution for the deceit and explaining that any attempt to readjust vehicle emissions will likely result in a reduction in performance and/or an increase in fuel consumption.

Hausfeld has posted the letter and the reports on this website.  The website also contains relevant excerpts from the transcript of the February 25 hearing.

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