A lawyer from Leigh Day has said that a group claim against VW – should it be found to have cheated clean-air tests in the EU – could be one of the largest ones ever seen in the UK.
Bozena Michalowska-Howells, from the consumer Law and product safety group at Leigh Day, said that the amount of potential consumers who may have been misled in relation to their vehicle could result in a massive claim against the German car manufacturer.
“Although legal cases being brought against Volkswagen in the US, this does not mean that UK cases will automatically follow,” she said.
“The key issue in this country is whether or not these devices were able to bypass the European emissions tests. If it is shown that this piece of software defeated the European testing then Volkswagen would be in a very similar position as it is in the US and may well then have to call in their cars with all the resulting costs involved.
“This could well lead to one of the largest group claims ever in this country against Volkswagen.”
Leigh Day has also revealed that it is investigating whether Volkswagen’s admission that some of its cars cheated clean-air tests in the US also applies to tests in Europe, and specifically the UK.
Leigh Day said that a British expert in low-emissions vehicles, Greg Archer, the former managing director of UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and non-executive director for the government’s Renewable Fuels Agency, has claimed that the EU testing system is more open to abuse. This is because the tests are conducted before the car goes into mass production and by companies that have been paid by the car makers.
11 million vehicles worldwide are believed to have been fitted with software to ensure they would pass clean air tests, to meet environmental standards.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US said cars had been fitted with sophisticated software to switch engines to a cleaner mode when they are undergoing official emissions testing.