Volkswagen looks forward to the future .. The scandals of the past haunt it

With the end of the year and the start of a new year, it seems that Volkswagen Group, Germany's largest car manufacturer in the world, is betting on the future, where it injects billions of dollars to invest in cars of the future, through the expansion of Development and production of electric vehicles, with major plans for the production of cars connected to the networks of communications and the Internet.


At the same time, the German giant is heading for a new record in terms of annual sales volume, despite obstacles in September and October last year because of the complications arising from the introduction of the new European standards for exhaust cars.



All this makes one forget the scandal over the exhaust test results in millions of diesel-powered cars that blew up in September 2015, but in fact will keep Volkswagen running for a long time. This case, which has cost the German community tens of billions of dollars so far, still requires a series of judicial battles that have not yet ended.




The Volkswagen Exhaust Test scandal has so far cost around 27 billion euros ($ 30.5 billion), but the scandal has cost investors a lot of money. The German share price has fallen sharply following the US investigation of the scandal in September 2015. Now These investors are demanding compensation for these losses. Investors say in their claims that "Volkswagen" was delayed in informing the market of the exhaust scandal.


Now proceedings are under way in the Supreme Regional Court in the German city of Braunschweig.


The group of defendants in the case includes the Volkswagen group and the Porsche luxury car company as the main shareholder in the group, the plaintiff in this case is the investment fund "Dika Investment", which calls with other contributors to the "Volkswagen" compensation for damages up to 9 billion euro. According to the law, any company listed on the stock exchange must announce any news that may immediately affect the value of the share. Prosecutors say Volkswagen did not. The German group said there were no concrete signs of the scandal before September 18, 2015, when the US Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said it was accusing the German company of manipulating the results of diesel exhaust tests. On September 22, stock exchanges were informed of the results of the US investigation.


In the preliminary proceedings to hear investors' case against Volkswagen, Judge Christian Yade said the preliminary findings suggested the company may have already been late in reporting the issue to the capital markets. The judge pointed to Volkswagen's own recognition of the US authorities on August 19, 2015, that it used a computer program with diesel engines in millions of cars to reduce the amounts of exhaust emitted from these vehicles during the tests compared to the amounts emitted during normal operating conditions.


Criminal Law


At the same time, another trail of exhaustive investigations involves a number of Volkswagen employees, including current and former managers. Criminal investigations in the scandal include 52 people, including 42 accused of using the computer program to manipulate exhaust test results, and six accused of falsifying false data on vehicle exhaust rates and fuel consumption. There are three other issues related to capital market manipulation as well as an investigation by a company employee for ordering the survey of data on the case.


The German prosecution is being investigated by a group of officials, including Martin Vinterkorn, the former chairman of Volkswagen, current chairman Herbert Dais and chairman of the Supervisory Board, Hans-Dieter Boitsche, for being accused of manipulating markets. Vintercorn also faces fraud charges.


Civil claims


How would it be if Volkswagen had to pay compensation to its customers in Europe the same way it did in the US because of the exhaust scandal? According to the German car group, there are about 28 thousand lawsuits filed by owners of diesel cars against agents and manufacturers of defective cars. So far, about 9,000 judgments have been issued in these cases, but complaints from Volkswagen customers are still largely "unsuccessful". At the level of the Supreme Regional Court, 13 judgments were handed down in all these cases which came in favor of the company or its agents.


US law firm Hussfield, representing Volkswagen owners, is demanding the company recover diesel vehicles containing the rigging program. In March, a German district court ruled that a VW distributor was required to return a vehicle equipped with an exhaust test program and give the customer a new, unblemished vehicle. But the Hamburg High Court has refused to back the ruling, and a ruling is expected to be overturned.


In another case, the Augsburg District Court ruled that Volkswagen was required to pay the entire price of the car in addition to the benefits of a customer who bought a diesel car with the illegal computer program. "We expect this verdict to be corrected at the appeal stage," she said, adding that there was no legal basis for customer complaints because they had suffered no damage or loss. Safe and functioning properly.


Procedural models


For those who want to sue Volkswagen, new ways have emerged in November with the help of "procedural models". Consumer protection societies have been able to sue companies for the benefit of many affected parties. The German Consumer Protection Association wants to use this new tool to "teach VW a lesson" as consumer protection associations will demand that owners of diesel-powered vehicles be compensated for the lower market value of these vehicles. These associations aim to fully refund the price of these vehicles to their owners. But Volkswagen sees the chances of a ruling against it in these cases very small, warning at the same time customers who will go in this way of incurring heavy expenses for the judicial process that will last years.



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