Volkswagen has reached an out of court settlement of £193 million in relation to the Dieselgate emissions scandal.
Around 91,000 claims in England and Wales were brought against Volkswagen Group by the law firms Slater and Gordon, Leigh Day and PGMBM as part of the Volkswagen NOx Emissions Group Litigation.
The settlement brings ‘no admissions in respect of liability, causation or loss’, with the German car giant saying ‘the legal costs of litigating this case to a six-month trial in England, and then in relation to any further appeals by either party, were such that settlement was the most prudent course of action commercially’.
A Volkswagen statement relating to the settlement read: “The Volkswagen Group would, once again, like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to their customers for the two mode software installed in the EA189 vehicles.
“The Volkswagen Group will continue to work to rebuild the trust of their customers here in England and Wales. This settlement represents an important further stage in that process.”
The Volkswagen emissions scandal, commonly referred to as Dieselgate, began in September 2015. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that VW had fitted software to vehicles with EA189 diesel engines that would activate during laboratory emissions tests.
This ‘defeat device’ would trick the test into thinking the vehicles passed nitrogen oxide (NOx) standards while emitting up to 40 times more pollution when out on the road. The software was fitted to 11 million vehicles globally.
Commenting on the settlement, Philip Haarmann, chief legal officer of Volkswagen AG, said : “The Volkswagen Group is pleased that we have been able to conclude this long running litigation in England and Wales.
“The settlement is another important milestone as the Volkswagen Group continues to move beyond the deeply regrettable events leading up to September 2015.”
Bozena Michalowska and Shazia Yamin, lead solicitors at Leigh Day, said: “We are pleased that Volkswagen has repeated its sincere apology for the use of the prohibited two mode software.
“We are delighted that this case has finally been settled for our clients and the claimants in the NOx emissions litigation. We have been unwavering in our belief in our clients’ case, that is why we have fought long and hard for this outcome. We are clear that it was in the interest of our clients to settle this early.”