Update July 10, 2018:
Our firm is no longer accepting new cases involving the Volkswagon Emissions.
Given the recent news that the larger V6 diesel powered Volkswagens and Audis may have contained defeat devices, our firm is now accepting cases from owners of Volkswagen Touregs, Audi Q5s, and Audi Q7s. Please call us or use the form at the right.
Our Volkswagen recall lawyers provide absolutely free confidential consultation and we never will charge you any fees or costs unless you first recover as a part of the VW lawsuit. Please contact us if you or someone you know owns a VW diesel Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Audi A3, Golf, Golf Sportwagen, or Passat.
UPDATE: Read about the “Goodwill Package”
On September 18, 2015, The Environmental Protection Agency accused Volkswagen of installing software on 482,000 diesel cars in the U.S. to evade federal emission regulations, potentially exposing people to harmful pollutants. The German automaker adopted what the EPA called a “defeat device” to trick U.S. regulators into believing that its cars met Clean Air Act standards, the federal agency said in a statement. Those cars emitted nitrogen oxides, which can exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma, at up to 40 times the standard level, the EPA said. The technology tricks regulators into believing that four-cylinder diesel cars comply with emissions standards, but the cars are actually emitting harmful pollutants at rates of up to 40 times acceptable standards.
The company admitted that software designed to fool regulators affects 11 million vehicles worldwide and could cost more than $7 billion to address, threatening to undermine its new position as the world’s largest automaker. Volkswagen told dealers they cannot sell the 4-cylinder diesel versions of those cars until a fix is available.
Volkswagen diesel buyers paid anywhere from $1,000 to $7,000 more for car equipped with the falsely advertised fuel-saving engines under the “Clean Diesel” moniker, compared with the usual gas engines.
In efforts to minimize their environmental impact, consumers that bought the diesel car paid a hefty price premium over the price of the gas versions of the same vehicles. The table below shows the premiums paid by Volkswagen’s CleanDiesel owners:
EPA regulators said that Volkswagen adopted a “sophisticated” algorithm that turned on vehicles’ full emissions controls when it detected they were being tested for emissions performance.
“We intend to hold Volkswagen responsible,” Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, told reporters in a conference call.
“VW was concealing the facts from the EPA, the state of California and from consumers. We expected better from VW,” Giles said. “We thought it was important to inform the public right away of these violations.”
“VW may be liable for civil penalties and injunctive relief for the violations alleged,” the EPA said in a statement.
EPA and California regulators discovered the device after researchers at West Virginia University and the International Council on Clean Transportation “raised questions about emissions levels” in Volkswagen cars, the federal agency said.
The company faces fines for violations of the Clean Air Act of up to $37,500 for each affected VW emissions recall vehicle. At an estimated 482,000 vehicles, the potential fines could reach as much $18 billion in the U.S. alone. Federal lawsuits will be separate from any individual lawsuits that affected that our potential client may bring.
The FBI has opened a criminal probe, and on On Oct. 8, more than 50 German police and prosecutors raided Volkswagen facilities and employees’ homes at dawn.
What’s more, European regulators are expected to place Volkswagen under intense scrutiny. And the scandal could bode poorly for Volkswagen in the world’s largest vehicle market, China, where Volkswagen is No. 1 by market share.
Volkswagen said it would set aside 6.5 billion euro, or $7.3 billion, in its third quarter to address the matter and warned that the amount could change.
Consumer Reports has withdrawn its “recommended” rating for diesel Jettas and Passats as a result of VW’s admission of cheating on pollution control tests calling the Volkswagen scandal “outrageous” and a violation of law.
“Volkswagen was ripping off the consumer and hurting the environment at the same time,” said Ellen Bloom, senior director of federal policy for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports.
Volkswagen’s chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, has resigned. Five managers have been suspended or have gone on leave, including Wolfgang Hatz, the former head of engines and transmissions development at VW. (A VW spokesman declined to comment on any personnel matters.) Winterkorn’s replacement, Matthias Müller, has said a company investigation so far points to a small circle of employees as being involved in the scheme. Its U.S. chief, Michael Horn, told a congressional committee the same thing: “This was a couple of software engineers who put this in for whatever reasons,” he said.
When Horn testified before the House, Representative Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican, told him he couldn’t believe the fraud involved only a few renegades—not at a rule-bound, Teutonic technocracy. “It wasn’t written by one person in their basement in the dark of night,” the congressman said. “You’re going to integrate that into the supply chain of a multinational corporation, and nobody knows a darn thing about it?”
“We’re working full speed on a fast and unsparing clarification of the issue. As soon as we can make reliable statements on this we will do this without undue delay,” wrote VW in a statement to Bloomberg Businessweek. “According to current knowledge we continue to assume that only a few employees participated in the development of this software.” Note that careful phrasing about participation “in the development.” It is possible very few engineers were involved in writing the code. But the diesel engine has been around for more than 100 years. It was invented in Germany. Is it really possible that a German company run by engineers believed the diesel engine had suddenly become clean?
In contrast to GM, where finance people have run the show for years, and Ford Motor, whose former CEO is a turnaround specialist from another industry, VW is a company where the engineers are in charge. It’s always claimed that an engineer-filled executive suite was a precondition of building top-quality cars. Winterkorn ran around at auto shows with a tape measure and a magnet to examine vehicles from rival carmakers, while back in his own shop he got involved in technical details.
“Device,” actually, is something of a misnomer. The cheat is merely several lines of software code in the computer that controls a Volkswagen’s engine and exhaust systems. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, when the car detects a test—certain steering patterns; speed; barometric pressure; only two wheels spinning instead of four—it switches into a cleaner mode called “dyno calibration,” after the testing machines. The cars can run cleaner, but they can’t run cleaner without sacrificing fuel efficiency or some of the engine’s power.
Another concern for current owners is how the resale values will react when Volkswagen eventually restarts selling the diesel models now sitting idle on lots. If VW chooses to get rid of that inventory by offering great incentives and significantly lowering diesel car prices, demand for used cars would drop along with their prices.
It is believed that Volkswagen won’t be able to make the vehicles comply with emissions standards without substantially degrading their performance characteristics, including their horsepower and their efficiency. As a result, even if Volkswagen is able to make vehicles EPA compliant, the owners will nonetheless suffer actual harm and damages because their vehicles will no longer perform as they did when purchased and as advertised.
VW plans to recall 11 million cars and is bracing for lawsuits from consumers who paid a premium for what they were led to believe was a more efficient and environmentally friendly ride. To raise funds the company will need to pay all the costs associated with the scandal, several industry analysts foresee VW selling off one or more of its 12 brands, such as Bentley, the British racing-turned-luxury sedan manufacturer, which has struggled recently, or Ducati, the Italian motorcycle maker.
Company leadership has not yet said Volkswagen will issue refunds, and it is still unclear how exactly the $7.27 billion will be spent. As people around the country have already begun to express their frustration with the company, here’s how to find out if your Volkswagen was affected, if it needs to be recalled and if you’re entitled to a refund.
Cars must meet the following criteria:
- It must be a Volkswagen, Audi or Porsche
- It must be a diesel
- It must be model year 2009 or newer
- Not all diesel-fueled engines were affected by the faulty software
Exact Models affected:
Beetle (2012 – 2015)
Beetle Convertible (2012-2015)
Golf (2010 – 2015)
Golf Sportwagen (2015)
Jetta (2009 – 2015)
Jetta Sportwagen (2009-2015)
A6 Quattro (2014–2016)
A7 Quattro (2014–2016)
If you own one of these vehicles, you’re fine to keep driving it for now, the EPA said. It remains unclear how VW will address the problem but experts said changes will likely make the car use more fuel and hurt performance
The presumed fix would come by retrofitting a Selective Catalytic Reduction (Adblue or urea) system although that wouldn’t be the only fix necessary.
The long list of items needed to fit models of the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3 doesn’t include the engineering needed to retrofit the cars and the costs to crash test the models after the significant modifications. That’ll add hundreds of millions to the bottom line.
Bozi Tatarevic from thetruthaboutcars.com provided his preliminary list of additions (retail prices) that would be needed for each car based on the systems included in the Passat TDI:
Aftertreatment Fuel Tank ($534)
Dosing Valve ($240)
Temperature Sensor ($171)
Total = $2,500 (plus labor)
Bozi points out that the urea tank most likely couldn’t be installed into the rear trunks due to the corrosive nature of the fluid. The secondary tanks would likely need to be installed under the car, next to a smaller, also-replaced, fuel tank. That would be an additional cost to Volkswagen (hundreds of dollars for each car) and further necessitate all new safety ratings.
The parts costs don’t take into account the hours of labor, which for a Jetta is 6-7 hours to change the diesel particulate filter alone. Such a substantial retrofit on their cars could take dozens of hours, incurring thousands in labor costs that Volkswagen would have to reimburse its dealers for. Labor rates, typically ~$100/hour, would likely be less for Volkswagen and the automaker would only reimburse dealers for the completion time detailed in the recall order.
Any sort of recall repair work and would need to be weighed against the cost for VW to buy back its own cars, which for a 2009 Jetta TDI, starts at about $7,000.
The actions of Volkswagen AG could impact the value of affected automobiles. If that is the case, then consumers who have purchased those vehicles could be entitled to compensation for their losses, including reduced value of their car and the costs of any repairs needed to satisfy U.S. regulators, as well as possible violations of state and federal deceptive trade practices act. If you purchased a Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Audi A3, Golf, Golf Sportwagen, or Passat diesel-fueled vehicle, model years 2009-2015, contact our Volkswagen emissions lawyers for more information. Heninger Garrison Davis LLC is currently accepting VW diesel recall cases in all 50 states. We can help answer your questions and explain your options in a free, no-obligation consultation.
Our Volkswagen recall lawyers provide absolutely free confidential consultation and we never will charge you any fees or costs unless you first recover. Additionally, we are asking the Court to order Volkswagen and Audi to pay all attorneys’ fees and costs.
Every state has maximum time limitations on when an injury claim must be filed. These time restrictions are known as statutes of limitations. If a claim is not filed before the statute of limitation expires, the injured persons are forever prevented from bringing a claim against the entities and persons who may be liable for their damages.
Heninger Garrison Davis LLC is aggressively investigating claims against Volkswagen as it appears the manufacturer’s action could impact the value of affected automobiles. If you or someone you know owns a VW diesel Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Audi A3, Golf, Golf Sportwagen, or Passat, you may be entitled to compensation as a part of the Volkswagen class action lawsuit.
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