There appears just no respite for Volkswagen in the infamous 'Diesegate' scandal and the car maker has now lost a case in the European Union's top court which ruled that it had breached the law by installing 'cheat' devices on its cars undergoing emission tests. It also ruled that the car maker's argument that the devices were used to protect the engines was on weak footing.
Volkswagen has been facing massive heat since the US Environmental Protection Agency first accused it of a software rig on its 'clean diesel' vehicles in the country. This was five years ago, five years of denial, admission and a whole lot of legal tussle and brand image deterioration.
Volkswagen did admit that millions of its vehicles - 11 million - had been fitted with such devices and that it was not in the US alone. The scandal has cost Volkswagen 30 billion euros ($35 billion) in fines and civil settlements and led to the recall of millions of vehicles.
The EU top court on Thursday ruled that car makers cannot fit their offerings with devices which go on to help control figures of emissions for the purpose of passing a test.
The court also completely tore into the argument that the idea behind installation of the device was to prevent ageing or clogging up of the engines under the hood. "In order to be justified, the presence of such a device must allow the engine to be protected against sudden and exceptional damage, and that only those immediate risks of damage which give rise to a specific hazard when the vehicle is driven are such as to justify the use of a defeat device," the court said.
While environment groups are celebrating the ruling, some calling it a 'landmark ruling for clean air in Europe', Volkswagen says it won't have an impact on ongoing legal disputes because the court did not comment on possible damages to owners of such vehicles.
(With inputs from Associated Press)