The position with Volkswagen remains rather static. They have put their hands in the air and admitted their deception, and now it is simply a waiting game to find out what remedial steps are to be taken.
More importantly, we are waiting to find out whether the ‘defeat devices’ can be removed in such a way as to leave the vehicle capable of complying with emissions standards and without impeding fuel economy and car performance. Rumours are that VW will announce a ‘technical solution’ on Wednesday 7th October, but whether this transpires remains to be seen.
On a positive note, the VW scandal has brought the entire issue of emissions testing to the forefront. It is now accepted that cars are tested in laboratory conditions which do not reflect actual driving conditions. This results in cars passing emissions tests, but thereafter producing unacceptable levels of emissions. The UK Government’s Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) has stated that they will start “real world” emission testing. They will commence with VW but will then move on to review other manufacturers.
Additionally, the UK Government has promised that VW owners with defeat devices will not have to pay higher taxes to reflect the extra pollution that their car causes.
However the VCA has come under fire after being accused of having a conflict of interests as they receive nearly three quarters of their funding from the companies it is investigating. The latest annual report from the regulator shows that 69.91% of its income comes from car manufacturers who pay it to certify that vehicles are meeting emissions and safety standards.
The apparent conflict of interest has raised the need for a truly independent investigation into the vehicle manufacturing industry.
It’s not only domestic Volkswagen owners that are affected by the scandal. Around 50% of large scale buyers are reviewing their deals with VW due to the emission revelation. Last year, more than half of VW’s business in the UK was with fleets. Of the 215,000 vehicles sold, 113,000 were bought by company car or hire car buyers for £1.5billion.
The biggest fear is that the value of the cars will plummet, leaving them seriously out of pocket. Company car drivers are also turning their backs on Volkswagen, believing the brand no longer has the kudos it once had.
What Can VW Owners, Domestic and Commercial, Potentially Do?
There may still be a case for a group action claim by VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda owners against Volkswagen as they were sold cars with the understanding that they had much lower emissions.
Slater and Gordon are calling for both consumers and VW shareholders who think they may have been affected by the emissions scandal to get in touch and join the group of affected customers we have established.
If you think you have been affected, please visit our Volkswagen Emission Scandal Legal Investigation page to register your information.
Jacqueline Young is Head of Group Litigation at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Follow Jacqueline Young on Twitter for live updates on the VW scandal @jacyounglawyer