Volkswagen had admitted in 2015 to using illegal software to cheat diesel engine tests in the US
can face compensation claims over the diesel emissions scandal wherever car owners live in the European Union
(EU), according to the bloc’s top court in its first ruling over the emissions scandal.
“A motor vehicle manufacturer whose unlawfully manipulated vehicles are resold in other member states may be sued in the courts of those states,” the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg said on Thursday.
The case stems from a dispute in Austria, where a consumer organisation sued the automaker, claiming at least euro 3.6 million ($4.1 million) in compensation on behalf of nearly 600 VW car owners affected by cars with so-called defeat devices that gave false readings during emissions tests. The group also sought a declaration that VW is liable for unquantifiable damages.
VW is facing a wave of litigation by drivers who want their money back for the loss in value of their diesel cars because of the manipulation exposed by US regulator in September 2015.
The scandal has cost the world’s largest automaker more than euro 30 billion so far.