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Dieselgate: Dutch court backs compensation for Volkswagen drivers

  • July 14, 2021

A Dutch court on Wednesday ruled that owners of rigged Volkswagen diesel cars in the Netherlands are entitled to financial compensation.

The German automaker has been ordered to pay several fines and payouts tied tothe Dieselgate scandal, in which the company eventually admitted to using fraudulent software to make diesel engines appear cleaner in emissions tests.

What did the court rule?

Buyers of a new Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda that had the software installed are entitled to compensation of €3,000 ($3,538), the Amsterdam district court said. Owners of a second-hand car would get €1,500.

According to the court, the compensation covers around 150,000 cars sold by dealers targeted in the class action suit.

The Netherlands-based Car Claim Foundation had filed the lawsuit against Volkswagen, software supplier Bosch, importer Pon and Dutch car dealers.

The verdict can still be appealed.

What is Dieselgate?

The Dieselgate scandal came to light in 2015, when it turned out that Volkswagen had equipped millions of diesel cars with software that made them appear cleaner during emissions tests.

Drivers argued that they had suffered damage because their cars were more polluting than stated by the company.

The case starting rolling in the United States, and has cost Volkswagen over €33 billion ($39 billion) in fines and payouts since 2015.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    The disaster unfolds — September 2015

    About two weeks after Volkswagen admitted behind closed doors to US environmental regulators that it had installed cheating software in some 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide, the Environmental Protection Agency shared that information with the public. It was September 18, 2015. The ensuing crisis would eventually take a few unexpected turns.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    The boss must go, long live the boss — September 2015

    Volkswagen’s then-CEO Martin Winterkorn (above) had little choice but to step down several days after news of the scandal broke. In September 2015, he tendered his resignation, but retained his other posts within the Volkswagen Group. Winterkorn’s successor was Matthias Müller. Until taking the reins at VW, Müller had been the chairman at Porsche, a VW subsidiary.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Raiding headquarters — October 2015

    Regulators in the US weren’t the only ones investigating VW. Authorities in Lower Saxony, the German state in which VW is based, were also scrutinizing the company. On October 8 2015, state prosecutors raided VW’s headquarters along with several other corporate locations.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Hell breaks loose — January 2016

    On January 4, 2016, the US government filed a lawsuit against VW in Detroit, accusing the German automaker of fraud and violations of American climate protection regulations. The lawsuit sought up to $46 billion for violations of the Clean Air Act.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Quit or forced out? — March 2016

    In March 2016, the head of VW in the US, Michael Horn, resigned. In the initial days and weeks after the scandal broke, he was the one US authorities turned to for information. He issued an official apology on behalf of the automaker, asking for the public’s forgiveness.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Settlement — October 2016

    On October 25 2016, a US judge approved a final settlement that would have VW pay $15.3 billion. In addition, affected cars would be retrofitted with better, non-deceptive hardware and software, or else VW would buy them back completely from customers.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Imitators — July 2017

    When dieselgate first emerged in 2015, analysts said it was likely other car makers were also cheating tests. But it wasn’t until 2017 that other companies were targeted in probes. In July, German authorities launched investigations into luxury car makers Porsche and Daimler for allegedly cheating emissions tests. Others, such as Audi and Chrysler, have also been hit by similar allegations.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Public still supportive — December 2017

    Despite dieselgate, VW has managed to keep the emissions scandal from utterly tarnishing its image. According to several polls, between 55 to 67 percent of Germans continue to trust the automaker. In the US, polls show that roughly 50 percent still believe the German company produces worthwhile vehicles.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Fuming over monkeys — January 2018

    In late January, however, VW suffered another heavy blow over reports that the company experimented on monkeys and made the animals inhale diesel fumes. To make matters worse, a separate experiment that had humans inhale relatively harmless nitrogen dioxide was revealed at the same time. Some media wrongly interpreted this to mean humans were also inhaling toxic fumes.

  • Dieselgate: A timeline

    Canadian court demands millions — January 2020

    Years after the scandal that caused Volkswagen to pay CAN$2.4 billion (US$1.83 billion), a court in Toronto order a further fine of CAN$196.5 million. Volkswagen pleaded guilty of violating in environmental laws. Prosecutor Tom Lemon noted that the fine was “26 times the highest fine ever for a Canadian environmental offence.”

    Author: Dirk Kaufmann, Elliot Douglas


Article source: https://www.dw.com/en/dieselgate-dutch-court-backs-compensation-for-volkswagen-drivers/a-58261382?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

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