Luxembourg sues VW over emissions fraud
The automaker insists it will not compensate European customers
10 February, 2017
Luxembourg launched last Monday criminal proceedings against Volkswagen over the diesel emissions scandal, further deepening the company's problems, news wires reported. Following investigations, Luxembourg has decided to take legal action against “unknown persons” over the EA 189 engine made by VW's Audi division. “We have decided that, as there is a large probability that a defeat device was used, to launch a lawsuit against unknown persons,” Luxembourg Infrastructure Minister Francois Bausch told journalists.The engine, which was tested and certified by Luxembourg authorities, was used in most of the cars that VW has admitted in the US included illegal 'defeat device' software that could conceal the true level of toxic emissions in tests. Investigations across the world are still trying to identify all the individuals involved in the scandal. Bausch's ministry described itself as “a victim of criminal action that led it to certify cars”. Spokespeople for Audi and VW declined to comment. Luxembourg is one of seven EU Member States under scrutiny by the Commission, which admits they have not done enough to crack down on emissions test cheating.VW, Europe's biggest carmaker, admitted in September 2015 to using software to rig US diesel emissions tests and said the software could be in up to around 11 million vehicles worldwide. In the US, the company has agreed to spend up to $25bn to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers, and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting vehicles.In Europe, officials in some countries say it has been difficult to ascertain whether VW has done anything wrong because of a loophole in EU law which allows carmakers to dial down emissions control systems under some circumstances, such as if they might damage a vehicle's engine. Nonetheless, several countries continue to investigate the matter and other interest groups are also taking legal action.Separately, fish producer and distributor Deutsche See, which leases 500 vehicles from VW, announced last Sunday that it was also suing VW for misrepresenting that fleet of vehicles as environmentally friendly. The company pointed out it had been unable to reach an out-of-court settlement as it seeks a compensation of €11.9m. “Deutsche See only went into partnership with VW because VW promised the most environmentally friendly, sustainable mobility concept,” said a statement from the company, which filed its complaint for “malicious deception” at the regional court in Braunschweig, near Volkswagen's Wolfsburg headquarters.In attempt to somehow resolve the crisis, VW CEO Matthias Mueller visited last Monday Brussels and met with Consumer Affairs Commissioner Vera Jourova. In the centre of their discussions was how the German automaker can bring its 8.5 million diesel cars in Europe in line with EU emissions rules. Mueller repeated that VW will not compensate EU customers who had bought a car with the fraudulent software. However, he agreed to begin sending monthly reports to Brussels detailing the progress towards repairing the affected cars, which should be finished by the autumn.
VW CEO Matthias Mueller (R) is welcomed by Commissioner Vera Jourova (L) in Brussels.