Volkswagen Pay UK Customers £193m – Could Vauxhall Be Next?

1 year ago Kelvin Braden Comments Off on Volkswagen Pay UK Customers £193m – Could Vauxhall Be Next?

German vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen faced the High Court and reached a settlement for its involvement in the 2015 Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal. VW will spend a total of £193 million to compensate a little over 90,000 affected car owners in England and Wales. The claim covers diesel-powered Audi, VW, Skoda, and SEAT models.

Each driver is expected to receive approximately £2,120. 

The carmaker was also ordered to spend millions on legal fees and costs despite having already spent around £26 billion in payoffs on settlements, fines, and fees since the scandal broke. 

Since the case has been settled, VW will no longer have to go to court. The trial was supposed to begin this month (January 2023), eight long years after affected car owners and their lawyers first started their diesel claims. The trial process is complex, expensive, and lengthy. 

Volkswagen’s Chief Legal Officer Philip Haarmann considers the settlement a milestone since the company is doing everything it can to move past the events of September 2015. Nevertheless, VW warned that the settlement is not an admission of guilt; they just want to avoid going through a costly trial process.

The carmaker apologised to their customers in England and Wales. They also assured that the company will continue to regain the public’s trust. 

Volkswagen is not yet out of the limelight, though, as several other GLOs or Group Litigation Orders have been filed against them about the diesel emissions scandal. Other carmakers are alleged to have violated emissions regulations as well, including Mercedes-Benz, Ford, BMW, Nissan, and Peugeot. British carmaker Vauxhall is also on the list, along with Volvo, Land Rover, Hyundai, and Renault.

What happened in September 2015?

Before a vehicle can be sold and driven on real roads, it must first pass regulatory emissions testing. In September 2015, US authorities discovered defeat devices in some Audi and Volkswagen diesel vehicles. The devices were used to cheat emissions tests so the vehicles would appear ready for selling. The VW Group sold thousands of these vehicles in the US.

The cheat software installed in the vehicles could detect when a vehicle was in the lab for testing and automatically lowers nitrogen oxide or NOx emissions to within the World Health Organization-mandated limits. After the test is completed, the vehicle shifts back to its normal settings, and emissions levels shoot up.

As such, a defeat device-equipped vehicle is only environmentally safe and emissions-compliant during testing. Once it is driven on real roads, it becomes a heavy pollutant and emits unlawful amounts of NOx. 

The incident became known as the Dieselgate scandal.

Volkswagen initially denied the allegations but soon admitted that they did use the cheat software to manipulate emissions tests in the US. The scandal eventually reached UK and Europe shores and other carmakers were soon discovered to have broken emissions regulations as well.

Vauxhall is one of the latest carmakers to be added to the diesel emissions scandal list. Although claims cases have just started, affected car owners are hoping that VW’s settlement agreement with England and Wales drivers will encourage Vauxhall to consider taking the same legal route.

How dangerous is NOx?

NOx emissions from diesel vehicles are dangerous and can sometimes lead to life-threatening impacts. Along with its primary components nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), NOx contributes to the formation of acid rain and smog. It also produces ground-level ozone, a pollutant that damages vegetation. 

What makes NOx more dangerous than you can imagine is its impact on your health.

If you are constantly exposed to nitrogen oxide emissions, you have an elevated risk of developing these health conditions:

  • Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues
  • Dementia (due to weakened cognitive abilities)
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory diseases
  • Fluid can build up in the lungs leading to lung problems
  • Breathing difficulties (i.e., shortness of breath)
  • Corroded teeth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Laryngospasm or vocal cords spasm
  • Asphyxiation
  • Reduced lung function
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Premature death

Air pollution is now considered the primary cause of early deaths worldwide. It has overtaken cigarette smoking, HIV and AIDS, and drugs and alcohol on the list. 

The first case of early death due to air pollution in the UK happened in 2013 after schoolgirl Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah died following a severe asthma attack. As the nine-year-old had been in and out of the hospital and emergency rooms in successive months before her death and seeing that she lived in a highly polluted area (South Circular Road), an inquest was requested. The coroner completed the investigation in December 2020 and formally confirmed air pollution as the primary cause of Ella’s early death.

Stories like this, and the long list of health impacts, are the reason why authorities encourage affected car owners to hold their carmakers responsible by filing an emissions claim. Being lied to and misled into believing that the vehicle you bought is emissions-compliant is also a strong ground for bringing a claims case. 

How do I begin my diesel claim?

There are emissions experts who can help make the long and tedious process easier for you. However, your priority should be to visit to verify your eligibility to file a diesel claim. Once you have all the data you need, then you can start working on your emission claim.