About four and a half years after the Volkswagen (VW) diesel emissions scandal became public, Germany”s Federal Court (BGH) will on Monday pass a binding ruling for consumer compensation claims. The ruling will likely have a huge effect on the entire automobile industry.
The highest civil court judges are expected to pass a ruling on the case of Herbert Gilbert, who had made a claim to be reimbursed for the full purchase price of his car.
The judgment will also guide the way for several thousand ongoing claims against VW, at the centre of which lies the question of whether the German automobile producer had deliberately aggrieved consumers by manipulating vehicles to fool emission tests. If they have, the court must decide how much VW owes its customers.
VW will likely be obligated to pay compensation
The judges already indicated during the proceedings that VW will be obligated to pay compensation. Their preliminary assessment, however, was that customers will not receive the entire purchase price upon returning their car. Instead, they would receive a so-called “usage compensation” for the kilometres driven.
This would be a partial victory for Gilbert, who had made a compensation claim for the entire purchase price of €31,500 for his VW Sharan.
The VW emissions scandal, a.k.a. Dieselgate, broke in fall 2015 when it became known that Volkswagen had falsified emission reports, affecting around 11 million cars worldwide.
The Higher Regional Court in Coblenz had ruled that Gilbert was owed €25,600 plus interest upon returning his car. Both parties had appealed against this judgment.
VW argues that no damage had been caused to the customer by installing the exhaust software, as the vehicle could be used at any time and the software’s installation had not caused any loss of value or other defects.