The German company resolved the diesel-gate scandal in Europe by fixing the cheating mechanism, but is not offering monetary compensation as it did in the US. Due to EU emissions regulations not being as strict, Volkswagen did not offer to buy back the affected cars, which also includes Audi, Skoda, and Seat models.
European regulation focuses more on CO2 (Carbon dioxide) and CO (Carbon monoxide) emissions, linked to the greenhouse effect and gas consumption efficiency. On the other hand the United States is stricter when it comes to NO2 (Nitrogen dioxide) and particulate matter emissions that create smog. Diesel cars tend to consume less fuel but emit more smog-causing elements.
On 31 December 2016 a new National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive entered into force, with new rules to drastically cut down on particulate matter (PM), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Ammonia (NH3) and Volatile organic compounds (VOC), that intends on improving air quality standards. This directive focused on smog-causing pollutants. European Member States will have to include this in national legislation by 30 June 2018.
The litigation is led by law firm Harcus Sinclair and funded by third-party Therium Capital Management. In the event of losing the case Therium Capital will lose the investment, but as the law firms states on its webpage ‘ there will be no cost to you for joining or participating in the group action’. Although, if the case is won, 30 per cent of the compensation will be taken by them as fees. Click here if you interested on joining the lawsuit.
Plaintiffs are looking for settlements similar to those in the US, where emission laws are stricter. The German company will also pay $225 million into an environmental trust fund in the US, according to Reuters.
A lawsuit against Volkswagen is taking place in Germany, where law firm MyRight offers similar terms as those of Therium Capital, asking for 35 per cent of the settlement if the case proves successful, and no costs whatsoever in the event of losing it.
In Spain, however, Volkswagen won nine out of the 10 cases brought to court by individuals who were asking for a monetary compensation from the showrooms that sold the cars. As reported by El País, ‘the rulings in favor of Volkswagen are based on technical reports showing that Volkswagen’s emissions are no higher, and in some cases lower, than those of other vehicles in their category’. Also, the court ruled that the company did offer to fix the problem.
Spain’s case could be understood as how European regulation, CO2 and CO oriented, might be an obstacle for the plaintiffs to obtain the same monetary settlements as those in the US.