Thompsons preparing lawsuit against Volkswagen

Patrick McGuire

Thompsons Solicitors could launch mass litigation against car manufacturer Volkswagen in the wake of a scandal over rigged emissions tests.

The Wolfsburg-based manufacturer has admitted up to 11 million of its diesel vehicles were designed to produce fewer emissions in a testing environment, meaning they were actually more polluting than advertised in everyday use.

This was done by installing a “defeat device” which put the car into a low-emissions mode when it detected it was being tested.

Volkswagen has now set aside €6.5 billion - around £4.8 billion - to cover the cost of the scandal. It has also convened a team of US lawyers to investigate who was responsible for implementing the cheat.

As many as 100,000 car owners in Scotland could be affected, leading to suggestions this could become one of Scotland’s biggest-ever legal cases.

Patrick McGuire, a partner at Thompsons told The Herald: “Since news of this scandal first emerged we have taken hundreds of calls from concerned and in many cases furious VW and Audi owners.

“My firm has had to set up a special unit simply to field the number of calls and begin work on the legal case against VW.

“We will be pursuing them under consumer protection laws designed to protect the public for fraudulent practice. I would expect very sizeable settlements for those car owners affected.”

Richard Lochhead, environment secretary(pictured right), said he has been in contact with Volkswagen and the UK transport secretary.

Mr Lochhead said: “I have discussed the situation with the UK Transport Minister and expressed my outrage and deep concern that the company may have deceived Scottish consumers and damaged our environment. Consumer confidence is likely to be shattered and customers and governments alike must have answers.

“The Scottish government has already been in direct contact with Volkswagen and we await their response to establish the scale of the issue in Scotland, seek assurances that customers are informed as soon as possible, and to clarify that the manufacturer will take wider responsibility for the environmental impact.

“An immediate priority is to clarify the legal remedies available for consumers and governments. Given the regulatory role of the UK government, and the implications for all administrations, it makes sense to have a co-ordinated response across these islands.

“That is why I have today written to the UK Transport Minister calling for a UK-wide task force to be set up to look at, for example, the environmental impact of any breaches of emissions testing regulations and practical steps that could be taken to address air quality issues. I have also asked that this matter is raised at EU level at the earliest possible opportunity.”

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