Drivers file class actions against Volkswagen for fraudulent sales of clean diesel vehicles

Posted on: September 24th, 2015 by Steve Larson
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CarVolkswagen was hit with at least nine more class actions on Monday and Tuesday by U.S. drivers seeking damages for diesel-burning autos that the manufacturer touted as environmentally friendly, but that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently revealed were designed to fool emissions tests.

Plaintiffs filed proposed class actions in federal courts in Florida, Oregon, Illinois and Utah, as well as five actions in California. The bevy of suits follows seven other actions drivers have filed since the EPA’s revelation last week that Volkswagen added sophisticated defeat devices that lowered emissions only during mandated tests.

In this batch of lawsuits combined, Volkswagen stands accused of violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The plaintiffs also collectively allege claims for fraud, unjust enrichment, deceptive business practices, breach of contract, breach of warranty and violations of various state unfair competition, consumer protection and false advertising statutes.

The plaintiffs all seek damages for their purchase of vehicles that the automaker marketed as using “clean diesel” technology.

Last week, the EPA accused the German automaker of installing the defeat device in about 482,000 four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars sold in the U.S.

Those vehicles include various model years of Volkswagen Jettas, Golfs, Passats and Beetles as well as the Audi A3, with some affected vehicles ranging from as far back as 2009 to 2015, according to the EPA.

An algorithm in the software detects when the engine is being tested, prompting the engine control computer to activate full emissions controls that are subsequently deactivated during normal driving, the EPA said.

On Tuesday, Volkswagen announced that 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide are affected and it will cost the company $7.2 billion to remove the devices.