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Settlement In Emission Scandal Worth Millions Reached By Volkswagen In Australia

Settlement In Emission Scandal Worth Millions Reached By Volkswagen In Australia
Two very important Australian class actions filed related in relation to the global diesel emissions scandal have been settled by the Volkswagen Group (VW) and Audi.
According to reports, the payout according to the deal will be between $87 million and $127.1 million, or about $1,400 per car even though the details have not yet been made public because it still requires the approval of the Federal Court.
In the class actions, VW was accused of fitting its cars with illegal defeat devices which were created to cheat emission tests. The cases sought compensation for affected car owners. The scandal had affected about 100,000 Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda vehicles in Australia.
Bannister Law and Maurice Blackburn had filed the class actions in November 2015 after the auto giant made multi-billion-dollar settlement over the same scandal in the United States and Canada.
The settlement that was arrived in the Sydney court was described as "significant step towards fully resolving the diesel lawsuits in Australia" by Volkswagen Group Australia in a statement.
"The settlement, on a no-admissions basis, concerns five class-action lawsuits covering all affected vehicles in Australia," the company said. "Volkswagen expects the proceedings will be concluded in 2020."
The payout per vehicle in the Australian settlement is much smaller than what the company had reached in America in 2016 which was a record US$14.7 billion. The pre-scandal trade-in value of their vehicle was paid by VW in its settlement in the US.
More than $42 billion in fines, settlements and recall costs had been paid by Volkswagen as of October last year. A number of executives of the company have also been imprisoned in the diesel emission scandal.
Volkswagen is also fighting another case brought in by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Despite compensating customers in the North America, VW did not have a case to answer in Australia, the company said in the Federal Court in March last year. Volkswagen and the ACC were close to coming to a resolution in the case, the company said. But the court heard the consumer watchdog would continue its legal proceedings against the Volkswagen group.
Going to trial was not ruled out by ACCC barrister Jeremy Kirk. "We think we're almost there but there is always some devil in the detail," he said. "There is still a possibility that the trial will go ahead."
Registration for a settlement claim can be done by anyone who owned one of the affected models on September 18, 2015, said class action lawyers. VW and Audi had misled its customers while selling cars because they had touted the vehicles to by environmentally friendly cars even though the companies and their executives were aware that the cares were fitted with defeat devices which cheated in the emission tests, said the class action lawyers. There is also claims that if the actual levels of emissions of the cars, powered by EA189 1.6- or 2.0-litre diesel engines, were known, those would not have been registered in Australia.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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