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460,000 consumers start lawsuit against Volkswagen

Christian Fernsby |
The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv) and the General German Automobile Club (ADAC) had jointly filed the mass lawsuit on behalf of plaintiffs, who demanded compensation from Volkswagen for being sold diesel cars based on misleading emissions data by Volkswagen brands VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda.

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The mass lawsuit against Germany's car manufacturer Volkswagen over manipulated exhaust emission values of diesel powered cars started at the higher regional court in the German city of Brunswick.

This is Germany's first-ever mass lawsuit. It was filed in November 2018 in order to provide a legal basis for a consumer association to conduct court proceedings on behalf of numerous plaintiffs.

The vzbv had filed the mass lawsuit the same day it was introduced in German law last year.

The lawsuit is set to clarify the claims of consumers who had bought a car equipped with Volkswagen's EA189-type diesel engine. More than 460,000 consumers had registered for the lawsuit.

Back in 2015, Volkwagen admitted to manipulating the exhaust emission values of diesel cars following investigations by authorities and researchers in the United States.

The software of certain Volkswagen diesel models was designed for the engines to emit significantly more toxic nitrogen oxides when the car was driven on the road than in tests.

After the manipulated emission values became known in 2015, Volkswagen's shares declined from over 250 euros (272.7 U.S. dollars) to below 100 euros and have only recovered partly since then. Currently, Volkswagen's shares trade at around 155 euros.

According to the ADAC, experts expect the trial "to take between two and four years." The next day of the trial is scheduled for November 18.

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