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Investigations

Goldman Scarlato & Penny Investigates VW Clean Diesel Scandal

 

Goldman Scarlato & Penny, P.C. is investigating a possible claim on behalf of persons who purchased certain Volkswagen and Audi TDI Clean Diesel (“TDI”) automobiles between 2009 and 2015.  Volkswagen has admitted that it cheated on pollution tests for TDI motors installed in 11 million vehicles worldwide.  This VW clean diesel scandal affects approximately 482,000 vehicles in the U.S, and owners of VW Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3’s and the 2014 and 2015 Passat with TDI motors may have had the value of their cars diminished, or were deceived by VW’s false statements about its ability to deliver performance along with fuel efficiency and low emissions.  VW’s conduct likely violated consumer and state laws, and may give rise to criminal charges against VW and its executives.  The EPA has also charged VW with violations of the Clean Air Act.  According to Michael Horn, head of the VW brand in the U.S., “[o]ur company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you.  We have totally screwed up.”

Clean diesel purports to be a green alternative to hybrids with a cleaner diesel fuel, advanced engines and “effective emissions control” technology.  Volkswagen markets its TDI cars as “fun to drive,” but in order to achieve that “fun,” VW had to cheat on emissions.  In reality, the TDI cars are not nearly as “clean” as they’re billed.    According to recent environmental reports,  the software, or “defeat device” installed by VW to bypass emissions controls actually causes cars to emit up to 40 times the legally allowed amount of nitrogen oxide.  According to Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, the VW clean diesel scandal, and the manipulation of the emissions testing mechanism “is illegal and a threat to public health.” Nitrogen oxide produces smog and with long term exposure may decrease lung functions and increase the risk of respiratory symptoms.

VW has admitted to installing “cheat devices” and has sold about 482,000 affected cars in the U.S. since 2009. The software allowed vehicles to emit less during tests than they did when on the road under normal driving conditions.  VW likely installed these “cheat devices” as an alternative to more costly urea-based systems installed on cars with larger diesel engines.  The EPA investigation followed on the heels of a similar investigation in Germany.  VW also received a letter from the California Air Resources Board regarding violations of state regulations.

Volkswagen claims to be cooperating with the investigation.  Volkswagen’s Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn stated, “I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public.”  VW dealers have been told to immediately stop selling any remaining TDI vehicles on their lots.  While VW is expected to recall the vehicles, no recall has been issued yet.  However, automotive experts have warned that there’s no obvious good fix.   VW is facing potential fines of $37,500 per car, a total as large as $18 billion and has already set aside $7.2 billion in te third quarter alone.  According to Kelley Blue Book analyst Karl Brauer said, “Volkswagen has far outstripped everyone else in selling diesel cars. This challenges everything they’ve been saying about those vehicles.”

Many consumers are now concerned that bringing the emission systems into compliance will lower fuel mileage and thereby lower the performance and diminish the value of the vehicles.

Affected diesel models (Type EA 189 engines) include:

Jetta (2009-2015),

Beetle (2009-2015),

Audi A3 (2009-2015),

Golf (2009-2015), and

Passat (2012-15).

Last year, VW sold almost 80,000 diesel passenger vehicles in the U.S.  Audi, a subsidiary of the VW Group, sold almost 16,000.  Diesels were about 3% of last year’s auto sales in the U.S.  VW is one of the world’s largest automakers.

If you purchased a TDI vehicle on the list above,  and you are concerned that you are a victim of the VW clean diesel scandal, your consumer rights likely were violated. Please contact a GSP attorney to learn more about your rights. You can contact Mark Goldman at goldman@lawgsp.com or Paul Scarlato at scarlato@lawgsp.com or call (484) 342-0700 with any questions you may have.

In our legal system, every person is innocent until and unless found guilty by a court of law or a tribunal. Whenever we reference “allegations” or charges that are “alleged,” such allegations or charges have not been proven, and are merely accusations, not findings of fault, as of the date of the blog. We do not have, nor do we undertake, a duty to continue to monitor or follow cases about which we report, and/or to publish subsequent updates regarding various developments that may occur in such cases. Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research regarding any such cases and any developments that may or may not have occurred in such cases. Also, the brokercheck report linked to some of our blogs is the up-to-date version as of the date of posting. Visitors may check the most recent version of each brokercheck report at www.finra.org.

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