Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Will Cost Them
Volkswagen is facing what may turn out to be one of the most expensive and consequential corporate scandals in history after an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered that the company had equipped millions of vehicles they had marketed as environmentally friendly TDI “Clean Diesel” vehicles with software that was expressly designed to trick emissions testing equipment, so that they passed tests, but spewed more harmful emissions into the air than legally allowed all other times.
This software defect affects around 11 million Volkswagen vehicles worldwide, as well as 2.1 million Audi vehicles were also equipped with the same software. Audi is a subsidiary of Volkswagen.
The Volkswagen models affected by this deception include:
- Jetta TDI model year 2009-2015
- Golf TDI model year 2010-2015
- Golf Sportwagen TDI model year 2009-2015
- Beetle TDI model year 2013-2015
- Passat TDI model year 2012-2015
The Audi models (all from model years 2009-2015) affected by this deception include:
EPA investigators discovered that the engines in these vehicles were equipped with a “pollution control” mode, but the software programmed the engine to only enter into that mode during emissions testing; all other times, the vehicles operated in a regular mode, which caused these supposedly “environmentally friendly” diesel vehicles to emit high levels of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere at a rate greater than for standard diesel vehicles, rather than the far lower rate promised by their advertising.
American Claims in Volkswagen Lawsuits
As of right now, federal and some state officials are treating this as a violation of environmental protection rules, and that could end up costing them dearly. In the United States, more than 480,000 vehicles are affected, and the Clean Air Act allows for fines of up to $37,500 for each one, which could cost the company as much as $18 billion. At least 30 state attorneys general are conducting coordinated investigations, including subpoenas of company records, and Volkswagen could potentially face a lot more trouble, eventually. There is a potential case to be made for deceptive advertising and marketing on this issue, and some experts suggest that there may be violations of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well. There are also a number of questions to be answered regarding the legal and ethical obligations of the software developers who developed the code to specifically shut down what are supposed to be mandatory emissions controls while the car is in motion, while only activating them to deceive state authorities. It is possible that the company violated federal law with their actions, as well as Texas state law on some level.
Already, several Volkswagen lawsuits have been filed and there are likely to be hundreds or even thousands more, by the time all is said and done. There really is a lot of responsibility to go around. Those people who purchased their vehicle based on potentially fraudulent premises should be compensated for that, as well as the reduced value of their vehicle on the open market and any costs they may have incurred as a result of Volkswagen’s fraudulent practices.
If you have one of these vehicles, you should pay attention to the recall and have your car repaired. If you’d like to find out more about a potential class-action lawsuit for their deception, contact the Defective Product Attorneys at Blizzard Law PLLC and find out what we can do for you.