Volkswagen / Audi Emission Fraud Lawsuit
The EPA alleges that Volkswagen marketed certain vehicles as “clean diesel” when in fact they were anything but. According to an article that appeared in The New York Times, the EPA says Volkswagen misled consumers into thinking they were purchasing cars that would not harm the environment, when, in fact, many of these vehicles were emitting pollutants at a level more than 40 times that allowed by the EPA’s Clean Air Act.
What consumers did not know, the EPA alleges, is that their vehicles contained software that only allowed the car’s emissions control system to operate during an emissions test. Multiple states require these tests in order to verify that a vehicle is in compliance with emissions standards. The software “cheats” these tests, according to the EPA, into making it look like the car being tested complies with the Clean Air Act.
These are the models manufactured from 2009-2015 that were equipped with the software:
- Audi A3
- Volkswagen Beetle
- Volkswagen Golf
- Volkswagen Jetta
- Volkswagen Passat
The specific pollutant in question is nitrogen oxide, which experts believe helps improve a diesel-powered vehicle’s performance by increasing acceleration and torque. However, the pollutant is also associated with the creation of smog and ozone, which, according to the Times report, have been linked to respiratory issues such as asthma. The article reported that the Justice Department could potentially pose a fine of up to $37,500 for each vehicle outfitted with the software – possibly costing Volkswagen as much as $18 billion.
But what about all the people who purchased one of those cars expecting premium performance with a minimum impact on the environment? Many consumers are participating in class-action lawsuits, claiming Volkswagen fraudulently marketed the automobiles. They are not only alleging they were misled by the automaker, but also that the value of their vehicles has been substantially lowered due to the software. They feel duped, and they want to take action.
On Sept. 18, 2015, the EPA issued a notice of violation to Volkswagen. In addition, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was also investigating the automaker for potential violations. The EPA said in a statement that using a “defeat device” such as the test-cheating software is not only illegal, but also a threat to public health. According to the EPA, both the agency and CARB uncovered the software through independent research conducted at West Virginia University. Volkswagen, according to the statement, only admitted to installing the defeat devices after the EPA and CARB demanded an explanation.
If you own one of the vehicles mentioned above, it is only natural that you have several questions regarding what you need to do. Here are just a few of them, along with answers provided by the EPA.
What will happen if I have one of the affected vehicles?
More than likely, Volkswagen will send you a recall notice that will provide all of the information you need in order to obtain the proper repairs – at no cost to you. You can continue to drive the automobile in the meantime. The EPA will neither require you to stop driving the car nor confiscate the vehicle.
Can the EPA force Volkswagen to recall the automobiles?
Under section 207 of the EPA Clean Air Act, the agency can require an automaker to issue a recall if the EPA determines a significant number of vehicles are not in compliance with EPA regulations.
Will I have to get my car repaired?
According to the EPA, that depends on the rules of your state. In some states, drivers have to furnish proof that their car has passed an emissions test before they are able to register the vehicle. But even if you are in a state that does not require this type of test, the EPA urges you to have it repaired so that it does not emit dangerous pollutants in violation of federal emissions standards.
How Baron & Budd Can Help
If you own one of the vehicles with software designed to circumvent emissions tests, you may be able to take legal action. Again, consumers are filing lawsuits against Volkswagen, claiming the value of their vehicle has been substantially diminished due to the scandal. They also allege that in order to make their vehicles compliant with emissions standards, their automobile’s fuel efficiency, horsepower and other performance characteristics will be significantly degraded.