Frankfurt (hooly-news.com / hooly News) – Rebound in the biggest German lawsuit around the fake diesel engine scandal. Volkswagen offered Friday to pay 830 million euros (875 million Swiss francs) to its customers in Germany, even if negotiations between the manufacturer and the association bringing together the applicants have so far failed.
This procedure, which brought together more than 400,000 people seeking redress for their cars fitted with fake diesel engines, started at the end of September. The automotive group is accused of deliberately harming its customers by installing software without their knowledge, making the vehicle appear less polluting than it actually is.
Friday, Volkswagen came to break the silence surrounding the negotiations, started in January, between the consumer association VZBV and the automobile giant: the two parties “reached an agreement on a friendly resolution to the tune nearly 830 million euros in total, “said a spokesperson in a statement sent to hooly News. However, this solution “failed” due to “exaggerated claims” concerning the fees of lawyers for the VZBV, he added.
Four years of hearing?
Less than two hours later on the VZBV side, same observation of “failure” of the negotiations but with a completely different justification: “the lack of good will on the part of Volkswagen to create a reliable and transparent system” for the implementation of agreement and payments to customers. “Volkswagen has done everything to destroy trust again,” said Klaus Müller, president of the VZBV, which acts as the sole applicant. “We will continue the trial with all our might.”
The German giant, he persists and signs: he will offer the agreement to customers even “without support” of the consumer association. “We are convinced that an amicable settlement is in the interest of the customers,” said Hiltrud Wernder, legal director of Volkswagen. “The commercial practice of the applicants’ lawyers must not weigh on the clients.”
Without amicable resolution, this first major consumer trial in Germany should last at least until 2023. The amount of 830 million euros may seem relatively modest compared to the 30 billion euros that the German manufacturer already cost dieselgate .
On the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, investor reaction was limited: the stock lost 0.95% to 170.80 euros around 2:50 p.m. GMT in a Dax in balance.
The drawer scandal dates back to September 2015, when the German automobile giant admitted to having equipped 11 million vehicles with fake software, and has haunted it since the German automobile industry. Most of the legal fees, fines and compensation were paid by Volkswagen in the United States, in particular to compensate customers for the return of their vehicles.
In Germany, the manufacturer has paid for the time only three fines totaling 2.3 billion euros and denies having caused damage to motorists. However, it remains under the threat of a cascade of civil and criminal procedures: in parallel with the group procedure, tens of thousands of individual applications have been filed, some of which have resulted in extra-judicial agreements.
In a lawsuit launched a year ago, investors are demanding compensation for the dramatic drop in the share price in the days following the revelations. Beyond the legal front, the scandal has accelerated the decline of diesel and diesel cars risk being banned from several German cities because of their level of nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution.
Volkswagen is trying to turn the page by investing more than 30 billion euros in the electric car.
hooly News / vj