First Big German Company Sues VW Over Dieselgate Scandal

Chris White | Energy Reporter

Fish distributor Deutsche See is the first German-based company to file a lawsuit against Volkswagen over the automaker’s emission cheating scandal.

The seafood distributor is suing VW for misrepresenting a fleet of vehicles it leased to Deutsche See as environmentally friendly. The lawsuit, which is slated to run about $12.8 million, is the first case brought by a company in VW’s home market.

Deutsche See leases nearly 500 vehicles from the beleaguered auto company and claims it was unable to reach an out-of-court settlement after VW replaced all the relevant managers with PR managers.

“Deutsche See only went into partnership with VW because VW promised the most environmentally friendly, sustainable mobility concept,” Deutsche See said in a statement Saturday. The distributor said it filed its complaint for malicious deception at a regional court near the automaker’s headquarters.

VW admitted in 2015 to installing so-called defeat devices in hundreds of thousands of diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. The devices would only kick on during road conditions when emission measuring tools were not engaged.

The scandal has cost the company nearly $24 billion.

It agreed to pay another $1.2 billion in buybacks and compensation Feb. 2 to settle claims from what was believed to be the final group of customers affected by the company’s emission leaking scandal.

The settlement, which pays back owners of the most expensive vehicles affected, means the costs associated with the scandal will plateau at $24.3 billion in North America. It covers 75,000 Audi, VW and Porsche vehicles with 3.0-liter diesel engines.

Customers with older models that cannot be altered will be offered buybacks instead of fixes, while owners with newer vehicles will receive $16,114. If VW cannot find an effective fix, then buybacks could balloon above $4.04 billion, increasing the final cost above $25 billion.

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