News - Volkswagen
VW sued for emissions: Report
Hot pursuit: Volkswagen will have to front allegations in court that it deliberately violated American clean air laws, which could result in even stiffer penalties than already predicted.
US justice department files Volkswagen lawsuit for alleged clean air act violation
5 January 2016
VOLKSWAGEN is facing the possibility of a multi-billion-dollar fine after the
United States justice department filed a lawsuit alleging that the German giant
broke the US Clean Air Act by deliberately producing vehicles with insufficient
emissions control software.
According to Reuters, if the justice department successfully proves that
the affected vehicles violated the environmental protection regulations, each
vehicle could attract a $US37,500 penalty ($A52,000).
With around 600,000 models under the microscope in the US, a successful lawsuit
could therefore result in as much as $US22.5 billion of fines for the company
($A31.3b), but Reuters is reporting that figure could “in theory” blow
out to as much as $US90 billion (A$125.3b).
“The United States will pursue all appropriate remedies against Volkswagen to
redress the violations of our nation's clean air laws,” said assistant attorney
general John Cruden, head of the departments environment and natural resources
According to a senior justice department official, Volkswagen knew it was
distributing vehicles that would contravene regulations, which were in place to
protect the US environment and air quality.
By suing Volkswagen, the Justice Department is looking to hold the car-maker
accountable for the emissions test cheat device, that allowed some
diesel-powered Audi, Porsche, Skoda – although this brand does not have a
presence in the US – and Volkswagen vehicles to pass only when being
scrutinised under assessment conditions.
VW is being investigated for its responsibility regarding the defeat device in
several global regions, but the US is the first to pursue the company for
damages relating to violated environmental protection laws.
In Australia, the number of affected vehicles and exactly which local emissions
regulations they might breach is still being established, although a small
Sydney-based law firm has filed a class action which is attempting to retrieve
owners' payments for non-compliant vehicles.
Volkswagen has previously stated that it would be reassigning funds it had set
aside for development projects to help address and resolve the crisis, but if
it is hit with the latest estimates for fines, it may be too much for its piggy