The dieselgate saga continues: Volkswagen has been condemned in the Netherlands to pay indemnities to 150 000 owners of VW products. Last week, there was a similar verdict in Italy. The consumer organization Stichting Car Claim has been vindicated by the Amsterdam Court. Car Claim sued Volkswagen, software supplier Bosch, VW-importer Pon, and the VW dealers.
The Court judges that whoever bought a VW product has the right to assume that it conforms to the rules. If this is not the case, the product loses some value, the judge claims.
In the Netherlands, some 150 000 buyers of VW products are concerned. According to the Court, they have the right to claim €3 000 indemnities if they bought their car new and €1 500 in case of a second-hand purchase.
Guido Van Woerkom of the Stichting Car Claim is “very happy” with the verdict. He also applauds that some real compensation sums have already been mentioned. The judgment does not force Volkswagen to pay immediately. The owners of the VW products concerned will have to claim their indemnities individually, referring to the judgment.
The Court has refuted the claims against Bosch, Pon, and the dealers. The claim against Bosch has expired according to German law. According to the Court, Pon and the dealers didn’t know at the time about the fraud. So it’s VW which is to blame.
Volkswagen goes into appeal against the judgment. According to the manufacturer, the owners didn’t suffer any financial loss, and their cars functioned well. Furthermore, VW cites ‘external experts’ that confirm that the value of the cars hasn’t decreased because of the presence of fraud software.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen has already paid some €33 billion in fines and indemnities following the outbreak of the scandal in 2015. The largest sum was paid in the US, where VW pleaded guilty. But there are other cases. In Germany, VW paid €800 million to 235 000 owners two years ago, an average of €3 400 per case.
Last week, Volkswagen was also condemned in Italy, where it has to pay €200 million to 63 000 owners. Here also the company is going to appeal. In France, the authorities (the DGCCRF) have started an injunction against Volkswagen and Renault, and the whole Stellantis group.
It’s dieselgate that has made Volkswagen reconsider its entire strategy. Five years ago, Germany’s number one was a very cool lover of electric cars. Now, it’s one of the forerunners in electrification. That has once again been confirmed in the ‘New Auto’ strategy on Wednesday.