Car dealers sue Volkswagen over diesel-emissions scandal
In the US, independent Volkswagen dealerships have already started action to take the giant car maker to court after admitting that they had cheated emissions tests.
Their claim is that they are likely to see some financial losses following revelations that the company fitted some diesel models with software to cheat on U.S. vehicle emissions tests, and conservative forecasts suggest that this claim could cost Volkswagen in excess of $1 million.
Volkswagen has already been hit with dozens of lawsuits, primarily filed on behalf of owners of affected cars, since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last Friday that some of its diesel cars used software to deceive regulators measuring toxic emissions.
Even here in the UK, owners and a dealership have been in touch with us wanting to help them claim compensation; from the perspective of a dealer they have several potential claims they could make, but the most significant is potential loss of earnings as consumers buy other brands.
Depending on the structure of the dealership, for instance whether the dealership is a Volkswagen franchise, there are several claims which may be possible on behalf of a dealership. It is likely that consumers have lost faith in the Volkswagen brand and this is likely to result in Volkswagen dealerships seeing a downturn in revenue which can be directly attributed to the material misrepresentations made by Volkswagen.
What about dealers who order Volkswagen’s on finance only know faced with having to sell such vehicles at a discount to ensure that the vehicles sell?
This scandal remains in the early stages and much information is still to be released but what is clear is that inevitably formal litigation will be pursued against Volkswagen.
It’s worth pointing out that in the event of a recall by Volkswagen to fix the software, it is still worth pursuing a claim against them as we believe that drivers are owed more than that.
We have asked Volkswagen UK for clarification on what’s happened in the UK, but as of yet, they haven’t responded.
If you are a dealership affected by this scandal then it may be important to contact an expert lawyer at this early stage so that appropriate evidence can be obtained regarding the potential losses which will follow. For instance, it may be necessary to consider whether any customers seek to cancel a previous order for a new Volkswagen and also to keep detailed records of any customers who contact the dealership regarding defective vehicles.
It is also possible that dealerships could be added as a party to any litigation pursued by individual customers and it will be necessary that a full indemnity is obtained from Volkswagen.