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Around 6,000 Swiss VW owners seek damages in emissions scam

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ZURICH: Swiss consumer protection organisation SKS has filed a claim with the Zurich commercial court on behalf of some 6,000 car owners seeking damages from Volkswagen AG and Swiss car dealer AMAG related to the “Dieselgate” emissions scandal.


SKS said it was assuming damages amounted on average to 15 per cent of the initial retail price of the vehicles concerned and that, together with insurance companies supporting the legal action, it wanted to give Swiss-based car owners the possibility to enforce their rights without disproportionate financial risk.


“The cars sold as environmentally friendly were overpriced from the beginning. Due to the manipulation of the exhaust system, they then lost even more of their value on the secondary market,” SKS (Stiftung fuer Konsumentenschutz) said in a statement on Friday.


AMAG, which imports the cars into Switzerland, said in a statement on its website it did not understand why SKS filed the claim because prices on the secondary market for VW diesel cars were at least on the same level or even higher than those of competing models. It also said it had not acted with the intention of wilfully deceiving customers.


Volkswagen could not immediately be reached for comment.


VW admitted in September 2015 to installing secret software in hundreds of thousands of US diesel cars to cheat exhaust emissions tests and make them appear cleaner than they were on the road, and that as many as 11 million vehicles could have similar software installed worldwide.


Earlier this month, Germany’s highest court rejected a bid by Volkswagen to suspend the work of a special auditor appointed to investigate management actions in the emissions scandal.


The Volkswagen emissions scandal (also called “emissionsgate” or “dieselgate”) started on September 18, 2015, when the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to German automaker Volkswagen Group. The agency had found that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines to activate some emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing. The programming caused the vehicles’ NOx output to meet US standards during regulatory testing but emit up to 40 times more NOx in real-world driving. Volkswagen deployed this programming in about eleven million cars worldwide, and 500,000 in the United States, during model years 2009 through 2015. — Reuters


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