Volkswagen has agreed to pay £193m ($242m) to settle out of court with owners of VW Group cars in the UK and Wales affected by the dieselgate scandal.
Law firms Slater and Gordon, Leigh Day, and PGMBM brought around 91,000 claims against VW Group and VW dealers by owners demanding compensation for VW’s use of emission-cheating software that was exposed in September 2015.
The settlement in the Volkswagen NOx Emissions Group Litigation does not constitute an admission of liability by VW Group, which reasoned that bringing the matter to a close swiftly rather than contest the claims in court was the best (read: least expensive) course of action. VW won’t be involved in the distribution of the settlement fund, but it is making a separate contribution towards the claimants’ legal costs and other fees incurred.
Illegal software fitted to VW Group vehicles with EA189 four-cylinder turbodiesel engines enabled those cars to detect when they were being run in laboratory testbed conditions and reduce emissions. But they would operate differently in normal driving, producing more performance, but more air pollutants. The scandal affected 11 million vehicles around the world and landed some of VW’s senior managers and engineers in prison.
“The Volkswagen Group is pleased that we have been able to conclude this long running litigation in England & Wales,” said Philip Haarmann, Chief Legal Officer of Volkswagen AG. “The settlement is another important milestone as the Volkswagen Group continues to move beyond the deeply regrettable events leading up to September 2015.”
Commenting on the settlement, Slater and Gordon CEO David Whitmore said: “Over the last 5 years, Slater and Gordon have rightly dedicated a significant and unwavering commitment to this case, providing an expert voice to a round 70,000 claimants. The settlement avoids the need for a lengthy, complex and expensive trial process and we are delighted to have achieved this settlement for our customers as a result of the group action.”