Diesel emissions scandal
Holly Thorpe's science fair project was the catalyst for this change. Her project measured CO2 levels inside and outside school buses.
By Theo Leggett
Business correspondent, BBC News
- Copyright: Getty Images
Car maker Volkswagen and a major German consumer group have reached an agreement in a class action lawsuit over the emissions scandal.
VW has agreed to pay an €830m (£709m) settlement to the Federal Association of Consumers (VZBV), a court in the northern city of Brunswick said on Friday.
The case was among the first of its kind in Germany. Because of a new draft law in 2018, consumer rights groups became able to represent customers taking companies to court - and to bear their costs.
VZBV said that families had been badly affected by the emissions scandal as they were stuck paying for the financing on existing diesel cars even after returning them, and if they wanted to get a new car, they'd have to pay a second lot of financing as well.
VW disclosed in 2015 that it had used illegal software to manipulate the results of diesel emissions tests.
- Copyright: VW
German prosecutors have filed charges against six Volkswagen employees for their role in helping the carmaker put heavily-polluting diesel cars on German roads.
The employees worked at the firm between 2006 and 2015 but were below management board level, prosecutor Klaus Ziehe said, adding it was unclear whether they are still employed at the company.
Prosecutors have accused the unnamed employees of fraud and false advertising as well as tax evasion, since VW cars equipped with illegal emissions cheating software should not have received road worthiness certification and tax breaks.
Volkswagen has declined to comment.
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The UK's first major mass litigation has begun, with about 100,000 motorists seeking redress from Volkswagen over the "dieselgate" emissions scandal.
Lawyers representing owners of VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda cars told the High Court the German firm misled consumers.
In 2015, VW admitted 11 million cars worldwide - including 1.2 million in the UK - were fitted with software that cut emissions readings in tests.
But it denies deceiving regulators, despite rulings against it elsewhere.
And it says that, whatever the merits of the case, the UK drivers seeking compensation faced no losses.
- Copyright: Reuters
Volkswagen is facing hundreds of thousands of owners of manipulated diesel cars in court today.
Around 450,000 people are seeking compensation from the German car-making giant four years after a scandal that found VW used technology to cheat diesel emissions tests.
Andreas Sarcletti, a VW customer, told Reuters: "I would like Volkswagen to reimburse the purchase price but I'm worried the trial is going to last a very long time."
A spokesman for VW said: "We want swift proceedings. It doesn’t help anyone if this process is dragged out unnecessarily."
He added: "The vehicles are driven by hundreds of thousands of customers every day, they are safe and roadworthy, which is why we do not believe there is any damage and therefore no reason for a lawsuit. We assume that also the Higher Regional Court Brunswick and the Federal High Court will follow our arguments."
VW has confirmed that chief executive Herbert Diess and chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch will stay on at the troubled carmaker, despite being charged yesterday with market manipulation in connection with the diesel emissions scandal.
"The company has meticulously investigated this matter with the help of internal and external legal experts for almost four years. The result is clear: the allegations are groundless," the German company said in a statement to Bloomberg last night.
BBC Radio 4
German prosecutors have charged three current and former Volkswagen executives with market manipulation in connection with a diesel emissions scandal.
Chief executive Herbert Diess, chairman Hans Dieter Potsch and former boss Martin Winterkorn have all been charged with misleading the German stock market about what they knew about Dieselgate - and when.
A fine of €870m will be paid by Daimler in relation to the certification of diesel vehicles that did not meet regulatory requirements.
"They are saying executives should have known earlier " about the rigged emissions data and that they should have told shareholders, said Arndt Ellinghorst, Head of Global Automotive Research at Evercore ISI.
"It's been a big, big moment of destruction at the company... in the end it will probably lead to a better company," he added, as the company focuses on cleaner electric vehicles.