A first-degree ruling by the court of Venice calls into question Volkswagen Group Italia, while in France and Germany the major automotive groups are still suffering the consequences of the scandal born around a regulatory framework on emissions that destabilized a good portion of the industry in 2015 automotive in Europe and the United States.
A ruling that closes a historical phase already abundantly stigmatized by the same group from Wolfsburg, which requested and obtained compensation for damages of 11.2 million euros from its former number one Martin Winterkorn. A first instance ruling by the Court of Venice responds to a class Action initiated by some consumer associations regarding the alleged software manipulations capable of artificially circumventing the emission limits of some diesel engines. Obviously the problem turned out to be much wider than this, because it is linked to dozens of technical aspects necessary to satisfy some facets of the homologation standard. History tells us that at times due to problems related to the available technology, others simply related to aspects of injection strategies, the problem was found to be of wider scope and concerned (albeit with different methods and technical entities and with different volumes of cars) many manufacturers (mainly European) linked in the production of diesel engines (but sometimes also petrol engines). In this case, the sentence of the Court of Venice relates to the class action initiated in 2017 in Italy by some consumer organizations gathered in the Euroconsumers network. In this first phase of the legal action, the German company is called upon to compensate a total of 63,037 consumers who have joined the action for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage, paid in 3,300 euros plus the interest accrued over the years, or 50% to those who bought used cars or resold them between 8/2009 and 9/2015.
Volkswagen Group Italia’s answer
Obviously, the position of Volkswagen Italy is quite far from the requests of the associations and clearly we will proceed on the subsequent degrees of appeal to understand who and how the situation can evolve. In detail, this is the position of VW Group Italia:
“We consider the class action brought by Altroconsumo inadmissible and the related arguments unfounded. Customers have not suffered any economic damage attributable to the issue of NOX emissions, since all vehicles are technically safe and suitable for road circulation, nor has there been any loss of commercial value in the Italian market. The Volkswagen Group will take the second level of judgment at the Venice Court of Appeal “.
A complex dispute to interpret
A very broad problem that affects many manufacturers, albeit in a different way, but which probably questions and makes us reflect on regulations that are probably not very detailed on rather complex technical and industrial variables. It is no coincidence that years after Dieselgate, as it was defined in 2015, discussions are still open on the interpretation of an overall industrial situation that rested on emissions rules that are sometimes difficult to interpret, and therefore all too subject to producing rather successful judgments. partial. In fact, if the sentence of the court of Venice will obviously be subject to appeal and cassation, to ascertain how and if there has been inadequate behavior towards consumers, the European scenario tells of similar complaints addressed in France to Peugeot and Citroen, so such as Renault, or Mercedes in Germany, testifying to the presence of responsibilities which, if so broad shared by many manufacturers on all markets, perhaps tell more of a historical phase than a scandal.
July 7, 2021 (change July 8, 2021 | 15:36)
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