Volkswagen Faces Class-Action Suit in Australia Over Emissions Scandal – Wall Street Journal

Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2015

Volkswagen has set aside US$7.3 billion to cover the fallout from the emissions scandal. Above, Volkswagen logos adorn a sign at a dealership in the Sydney suburb of Artarmon.

CANBERRA, Australia—More than 10,000 Australians have signed onto another class-action suit against Volkswagen AG


, which seeks damages worth more than 100 million Australian dollars ($71.1 million) over the German auto maker’s use of emissions-cheating software.

Australian legal firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers filed a class action in the Federal Court of Australia on Thursday, saying customers of Volkswagen, Audi


and Skoda felt betrayed by VW’s installation of illegal “defeat-device” software to bypass stringent emissions tests.

“Our aim is to quickly and efficiently get a fair outcome for the wrongs that have been suffered to them,” Maurice Blackburn’s lead lawyer, Jason Geisker, told reporters.

The litigation, he said, would seek to recover not only a full refund of the vehicle cost, but also to seek additional payment for alleged deceptive conduct. It would also target parent companies, as well as local subsidiaries.

A VW Australia spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit but said it would “do everything we can to fix this problem and regain the trust of our customers.”

Volkswagen has set aside US$7.3 billion to cover the fallout from the scandal, as plaintiff actions against the company mount world-wide. The company has estimated more than 90,000 diesel vehicles were fitted with the software and sold in Australia.

Audi-owner Robyn Richardson, a lead plaintiff in the class action, said she wanted to deter other auto companies from behaving like Volkswagen. “I am here to bring them to account for what they’ve done,” she said at the news conference.

Volkswagen earlier this month said it had understated carbon-dioxide emissions from some 800,000 cars. That followed earlier revelations that the company installed illegal software on some 11 million diesel vehicles that allowed it to cheat on tests for nitrogen-oxide emissions in Europe and the U.S.

The European Union has asked Volkswagen to supply details on recently revealed “irregularities” related to carbon-dioxide emissions from its vehicles, kicking off an assessment process that could end with heavy fines for the German auto maker.

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