Volkswagen diesel customers invited to join German class action against carmaker

Berlin: Motorists in Germany who have purchased diesel vehicles from Volkswagen were invited by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) Tuesday to join a new form of class-action lawsuit against the Wolfsburg-based company.

Speaking in Berlin, VZBV president Klaus Mueller explained that joining the registry of plaintiffs in the case was particularly interesting for those Volkswagen customers who had so far refrained from making any individual claims against the carmaker in the diesel emissions scandal, Xinhua news agency reported.

The so-called “template lawsuits”, in which several plaintiffs unite to press charges collectively and resolve key questions to set a legal precedent, were only recently enabled by federal legislation passed in response to revelations of emissions-cheating practices by the automotive industry.

Through the new class-action suit, the consumer protection group is seeking to obtain compensation from Volkswagen for the depreciation of vehicles sold to customers which have been caused by the diesel emissions scandal. Volkswagen rejects these financial claims and has argued that all of the cars delivered to drivers were approved by regulatory authorities — technically safe and fully operational.

An actual trial in the case will only open when at least 50 plaintiffs sign up to the registry opened by VZBV on Tuesday within two months.

Since the first revelations of the installation of illicit diesel motor software by Volkswagen became public in 2015, the company has been forced to recall a total of 2.5 million vehicles. VZBV’s attorneys estimate that tens of thousands of diesel drivers in Germany will join its class-action suit.