Six years after the outbreak of the scandal of Volkswagen’s rigged diesel engines, the Geneva courts ruled in favor of the owner of a 2013 Touran Diesel. The importer AMAG was ordered to reimburse his aggrieved customer at the purchase price of the vehicle.
“Stop, that’s enough! Now you have to compensate in Switzerland, as you have done in other countries!” Jacques Roulet, the lawyer for the owner of a VW Touran registered in Geneva, feels confident after this judgment, when he makes this appeal to Volkswagen and its importer AMAG.
For the first time since the start of the “dieselgate”, the courts have opened a breach in Switzerland. The Geneva Court of First Instance has just canceled the contract for the sale of the vehicle, forcing AMAG to reimburse its owner. The latter will receive nearly 17,000 francs (36,800 francs at the purchase price, deducted from a mileage allowance).
For the owner, as for his lawyer, it is the delivery: “It is a relief for my client, but it is also in the hope of all my clients, and for all the injured in Switzerland. “, he confides Tuesday in the 19:30.
This individual decision could concern thousands of plaintiffs in Switzerland. As long as the manufacturer and its importer in Switzerland accept this court decision and open their wallets to compensate all the others.
Standards exceeded by 37%
For the owner of the VW Touran, it was a long process. The story begins with the outbreak of the Volkswagen engine rig scandal in 2015. The Volkswagen group admits to having used software to optimize nitrogen oxide (NOx) values on the test bench. Eleven million vehicles are then recalled in Europe and the United States to update their software. In Switzerland, nearly 130,000 vehicles are affected.
Among them, the VW Touran TDI, registered in Geneva. But the software update does not appease its owner, who in 2016 launched a civil action against AMAG and Volkswagen. He seeks not only damages, but also the invalidation of the sale of the vehicle.
As part of this trial, the court then mandates an independent appraisal company to carry out, in particular, measurements of the vehicle’s exhaust gas emissions. Despite the software update made in 2017, the vehicle’s nitrogen oxide emissions exceed standards by 37%.
>> To reread:
An announced appeal
With such exceeding of the anti-pollution standards, the VW Touran is declared “unfit for circulation” by the experts. The court thus invalidates the contract. Is the reimbursement of the VW Touran by AMAG the first in a long list of plaintiffs in Switzerland?
No, according to AMAG’s reaction. The importer told RTS that he will appeal against this decision: “The judgment is not final and concerns only a specific vehicle of a single complainant. […] EA 189 engines meet the applicable standards after the software update and are allowed to circulate. “
For his part, Jacques Roulet says he is ready to go all the way. “Today we have this first victory, which is very important. There is no reason why we should stop doing so well. And we do not see why the Swiss would remain abandoned in this affair, even if unfortunately our criminal authorities do not show a very goodwill to help us obtain these compensations “.
Unlike owners injured by the VW scandal in Germany, the United States or Canada, Swiss owners have so far received no compensation. The Geneva lawyer says he still has 350 clients (out of the initial 600) ready to fight. But to obtain results, it would be necessary “to encumber justice”: “one will not still make hundreds of lawsuits. It is necessary that AMAG and Volkswagen draw from this judgment the consequences which are necessary and come to compensate the whole of the clients.”
The question remains topical in Europe too. Following several decisions of the European Court of Justice, European Commissioner Didier Reynders once again called on Volkswagen to fairly compensate all European owners, not just in Germany.
>> Subject developed in the 7:30 p.m. of November 23
Pascal Jeannerat, Feriel Mestiri