German top court signals Volkswagen faces more payouts in diesel scandal
Germany’s federal top court signaled Volkswagen AG may have to pay a customer who purchased a diesel car with illegal emission technology, though it won’t have to reimburse the buyer in full.
The car’s usage costs will be reflected in any amount awarded in the case, presiding judge Stephan Seiters said Tuesday at a hearing in Karlsruhe. Following the court’s preliminary opinion, a ruling will be made at a later date.
The court’s comment marks a setback for VW’s efforts to draw a line under the diesel-emissions scandal, which erupted in 2015. So far, the affair has cost the world’s largest automaker more than 30 billion euros ($33 billion).
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VW still faces a barrage of lawsuits in several countries from disgruntled investors and customers. The financial risks posed by consumer claims in Germany were reduced earlier this year, when the company reached a settlement with about 240,000 customers to pay out some 750 million euros in total. More than 10,000 related cases are under review.
Separately, another 60,000 individual claims are still pending, according to a spokesman for the carmaker.
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Plaintiff Herbert Gilbert sued VW for damage claims after buying a used Sharan 2.0 TDI from a dealer for 31,490 euros in 2014. The minivan contained an EA189 diesel engine equipped with an illegal defeat device to bypass emission tests. He agreed on an engine software update in 2017 that VW was obliged to offer to customers to make the cars compliant.
The case is BGH, VI ZR 252/19.