Dutch court starts class action case against Volkswagen
The Amsterdam court is kicking of the dragging class action case against Volkswagen on Tuesday, claiming compensation for the emissions-cheating software, the so-called dieselgate scandal.
If the Dutch judge grants this claim, this could cost the German Volkswagen Group, Bosch and the Dutch VW dealers a total of 4,5 billion euro. And the verdict could be binding for all European car buyers who are victim.
The Dutch Volkswagen Car Claim Foundation (Stichting Volkswagen Car Claim), founded last year by mobility organization ANWB’s director, Guido van Woerkom, demands a compensation for all car owners of the brands of the Volkswagen Group: Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, and Skoda.
He insists that people should get a complete refund. They should be able to trade in their car for the complete purchase price. The cars equipped with the fraudulent software had a much higher fuel consumption and exceeded the European CO2 emission standards, so the use of the car was more expensive, and the trade-in value was smaller than expected at the moment of purchase.
Up to 4,5 billion euro
“With the 180.000 dieselgate victims, claims could go up to 4,5 billion euro”, says lawyer Patrick Haas. “People who bought their car second-hand should get a compensation.”
Stichting Volkswagen Car Claim has summoned Volkswagen, all Dutch VW dealers, importer Pon, ex-top man, Martin Winterkorn and Matthias Müller, and electronics giant, Bosch, producer of the emissions-cheating software.
In the preparatory session the case will not be treated with regard to the content but the judge will look for the best way to handle the procedure. There also are some questions for the European court that might influence the procedure in the Netherlands.
It still might take a year before the case can be settled with regards to the content. In the meanwhile, it could be perfectly possible that VW will offer an arrangement, like it has done in other countries. Patrick Haas: “Although I would not expect it before the end of the year because a lot of claims in Germany will be barred by then and there will be more options.”
The foundation is financed by private investors and will get probably 15 to 18% of the compensation if admitted by the judge. Car owners who are victim can join the foundation for free at www.dasclaim.nl.