Volkswagen loses landmark German ‘dieselgate’ case
Germany’s highest civil court has ruled that Volkswagen must pay compensation to a motorist who had bought one of its diesel minivans fitted with emissions-cheating software.
The ruling sets a benchmark for about 60,000 other cases in Germany.
The plaintiff, Herbert Gilbert, will be partially reimbursed for his vehicle, with depreciation taken into account.
VW has already settled a separate €830m (£743m) class action suit involving 235,000 German car owners.
It has paid out more than €30bn in fines, compensation and buyback schemes worldwide since the scandal first broke in 2015.
VW disclosed at the time that it had used illegal software to manipulate the results of diesel emissions tests.
The company said that about 11 million cars were fitted with the “defeat device”, which alerted diesel engines when they were being tested. The engine would then change its performance in order to improve the result of the test.
Volkswagen has faced a flurry of legal action worldwide, including the UK.
About 90,000 motorists in England and Wales have brought action against VW as well as Audi, Seat and Skoda, which are also owned by Volkswagen Group.
Last month, their case cleared its first hurdle in the High Court, when a judge ruled that the software installed in the cars was indeed a “defeat device” under EU rules.
The carmaker’s current and former senior employees are facing criminal charges in Germany.