VW/Audi/Porsche Emissions Scandal
Back in September of 2015 the first rumblings of what would turn out to be a major scandal involving Volkswagen/Audi/Porsche vehicles began to emerge. In a matter of weeks the news would rock the company to its core, leading to the ouster of numerous high level executives, predictions of billions of dollars in fines, suspicion of massive recalls of million of vehicles and an announcement that efforts were underway to fix the fraudulent emissions control software.
So what happened?
The emissions scandal involving Volkswagen/Audi/Porsche vehicles began when the EPA issued a notice of violation to the automaker after discovering violations in a popular version of the company’s diesel engine. The agency discovered that certain model VW, Audi and even Porsche vehicles were emitting vastly more pollutants than was legally acceptable.
According to experts, the issue appears to have involved a piece of computer software (referred to by VW as a “Defeat Device”) installed in the engines that was able to sense whether the vehicle was being tested for emissions output. If the car was being emissions tested, then the software would put the vehicle in a kind of safety mode, which ran the engine on less-than-normal power and resulted in better emissions test performance. Once the vehicles were out on the open road, the software would switch the vehicle out of test mode and begin polluting at much higher rates. This switch resulted in the output of nitrogen oxide pollutants at levels more than 40 times what is legally allowed in the United States.
How many people are impacted?
Though developments continue to occur, it appears that nearly 600,000 VW vehicles (including Audi and Porsche) are impacted in the United States. Though this is already a large number, an additional 11 million vehicles sold worldwide may also be affected.
What’s the harm?
First, the emissions test scandal harms everyone in that millions of VW vehicles are emitting harmful pollutants at dangerous levels. Beyond the problem with pollution, owners of these vehicles have been harmed in other ways. First, to fix the problem many experts believe a patch will need to be introduced which could lower the fuel economy of the vehicles or decrease their performance level. That means owners who purchased these diesel vehicles did so believing they were buying a car with good performance and great fuel economy. Had owners known the truth, they very well may have purchased a different vehicle.
VW’s fraud has another cost to owners and that is in the loss of resale value. Though things are still being shaken out following the revelation of the scandal, it’s clear that the value of these vehicles has dropped since news broke, meaning owners who expected to receive a certain amount when selling or trading in the vehicles will now take a hit of thousands of dollars through no fault of their own.
What penalties is VW facing?
VW is currently facing myriad legal troubles surrounding its emissions scandal. Beyond the potential for private lawsuits and class-action claims, VW is already named in a civil complaint filed by the EPA and the Department of Justice. Experts believe that government regulators will hand down massive fines against the automaker, with some estimating the cost of fines alone could rise to upwards of $18 billion.
What vehicles are impacted?
- VW Beetle TDI (2012 - 2015)
- VW Beetle Convertible TDI (2012 - 2015)
- VW Golf TDI (2010 - 2015)
- VW Golf Sportswagen TDI (2015)
- VW Jetta TDI (2009 - 2015)
- VW Jetta Sportswagen TDI (2009 - 2014)
- VW Passat TDI (2012 - 2015)
- VW Touareg TDI (2009-2016)
- Audi A3 Diesel (2010 - 2015)
- Audi A6 Quattro Diesel (2014-2016)
- Audi A7 Quattro Diesel (2014-2016)
- Audi A8 Quattro Diesel (2014-2016)
- Audi A8L Quattro Diesel (2014-2016)
- Audi Q5 Quattro Diesel (2014-2016)
- Audi Q7 Diesel (2009-2016)
- Porsche Cayenne Diesel (2013-2016)
Owners of VW/Audi/Porsche vehicles, manufactured between 2009 and 2016, that contain the cheat software may be able to take part in a class-action lawsuit against VW. By filing a civil claim for damages, owners can attempt to collect needed financial compensation for the automaker’s fraudulent engineering and deceptive marketing practices.
If you have a vehicle that is subject to the recall, please call Kobs & Philley for a free consultation. We have experience in pursuing similar cases and have been active in the BP litigation as well as other mass tort claims. Please let our friendly staff of attorneys help with your claim.