The Volkswagen emissions scandal has caused a great deal of uncertainty for VW dealerships who potentially will be in the front line of any action taken by customers. VW has now confirmed that approximately 1.2 million cars are affected in the UK. The Volkswagen Group includes the Audi, SEAT and Skoda brands. Potentially affected cars are those fitted with 1.2 litre, 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre (EA 189) diesel engines that are Euro 5 compliant.
It is now possible to check if a particular car is affected by clicking on the website links below. To do so you will need the car's VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).
VW plan to start 'refitting' affected cars in the UK from January 2016. In the meantime, the Government has confirmed that UK tax rates won't change on Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and SEAT models affected by the emissions scandal and that drivers will be under no obligation to send vehicles back to VW to get them modified, "but it is in their interest to do it". Confirmation is likely to impact on any claims being formulated by lawyers acting for car owners.
The majority of affected cars will need a software update to their engines. However, around 400,000 of the affected vehicles in the UK (mainly those with a 1.6 litre diesel engine) will require mechanical modification.
VW dealerships now face claims from customers with affected cars as the seller of those cars and, as a consequence, the terms of each dealerships relationship with VW will be an important focus when considering what claims dealerships may have against VW. Claims made by customers on the face of the information available to date are unlikely to revolve around actual damage to their vehicles but rather loss of vehicle value, higher than represented running costs and other related losses. In those circumstances dealers may well find that those claims are not covered by their business insurance and dealers should look carefully at the terms of their coverage now in order to plan their response to claims.
The reliance by dealerships on data and performance analysis provided to them by VW when selling VW cars is likely to become a central feature of claims by dealerships against the manufacturer.
We offer specific legal expertise in relation product liability and franchise disputes and act for car and commercial vehicle dealerships. Please contact Rory Mac Neice or Fiona Ladič if you would like to discuss a potential claim.