Buyers of manipulated diesel cars are generally entitled to compensation. The German Federal Court of Justice decided that.
For tens of thousands of diesel drivers, the way for damages from Volkswagen is clear. In its first verdict on the VW emissions scandal, the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe found on Monday that complaining buyers can return their car and claim the money for it. However, you must have the kilometers driven credited to the purchase price. (Az. VI ZR 252/19)
With their decision, the top civil judges confirmed a buyer-friendly judgment of the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Koblenz. It had obliged the VW Group to reimburse the buyer of a used VW Sharan a good 25,600 euros plus interest due to intentional immoral damage. The man had argued that he trusted the advertising and believed he had bought a clean car.
Illegal exhaust technology
The scandal surrounding illegal exhaust technology in millions of VW vehicles was exposed in autumn 2015. At that time it became clear that the nitrogen oxide emissions of the EA189 engine type were much higher than tests on the test bench showed. The software was responsible for activating full exhaust gas purification only on the test bench.
Both sides had appealed against the Koblenz judgment. The plaintiff had paid just under 31,500 euros for the car in 2014 and wanted the full price back. VW didn’t want to pay anything. The carmaker had always argued that the cars were fully usable at all times. The customer was therefore not harmed.
With its fundamental judgment, the BGH rejected the revision of the diesel buyer and essentially also that of VW. This sets the line for many thousands of ongoing lawsuits. So far, the lower courts had judged very differently.
60,000 procedures still to be done
According to VW, around 60,000 lawsuits are still pending nationwide, i.e. they have not been legally decided or ended by comparison. The BGH judgment is an important course for many of these cases. Nevertheless, many legal issues are still unresolved. The Karlsruhe judges have already scheduled the next three negotiations on other diesel cases in July, with more to follow.
The judgment no longer has any effect on the settlement negotiated as part of a model declaratory action, which according to VW has meanwhile been accepted by around 240,000 diesel owners.