Volkswagen reaches settlement over diesel lawsuits

SUBJECT to approval by the Federal Court of Australia, Volkswagen Group has reached a comprehensive in-principle settlement with the class action plaintiffs in this country. This is a significant step towards fully resolving the diesel lawsuits in Australia.

Although details remain confidential, Volkswagen estimates a payment per vehicle of about $1,400 on average. Simple mathematics for the approximately 100,000 vehicles involved puts the payout at somewhere around $140 million.

Should it get its approval from the Federal Court, Volkswagen views the in-principle settlements as a further step towards overcoming the diesel vehicle emissions issue nicknamed ‘dieselgate’.

The settlement will be on an a no-admissions basis, which concerns five class action lawsuits covering all affected vehicles in Australia. Given the requirement of court approval and the setting of a timetable, owners may still have to wait a little while.

That said, Volkswagen expects the proceedings will be concluded in 2020. For those wondering, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda vehicles with 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre EA189 engines were affected by the diesel issue.

The list of actual vehicles affected includes the Volkswagen Golf (2009-2013), Polo (2010-2014), Jetta (2009-2016), Passat CC (2009-2012), Passat (2009-2015), EOS (2009-2014), Tiguan (2008-2016), the Amarok (2011-12), and the Caddy (2010-2015).

Also affected are Skoda Octavia (2008-2016), Yeti (2012-2016) and Superb (2009-2015), as well as the Audi A1 (2010-2015), A3 2.0 (2011-2013), A3 1.6 (2009-2013), A4 (2008-2015), A5 (2012-2016), A6 (2009-2015), and Q3 (2012-2014).

Volkswagen Group is also the subject of a seperate Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) civil law suit. That case has now been resolved, in-principle, with the terms of settlement subject to judicial confirmation.

The ACCC alleged Volkswagen Group and its Australian subsidiary engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, that they made false or misleading representations and engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public in relation to diesel vehicle emission claims.

Volkswagen expects the proceedings to be concluded by the end of 2019.

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