First VW emissions group claim settles for £193m plus costs

Volkswagen: Commercial decision to settle

The Volkswagen NOx emissions group litigation settled yesterday for £193m – some £2,120 for each of the 91,000 claimants.

VW has also paid an undisclosed sum in costs and other fees and Legal Futures has been told that this bumps up the average payout to around £3,000 per claimant.

The terms and conditions of the settlement are confidential but VW has made no admissions in respect of liability, causation or loss.

The case was due to go to trial next January, eight years after work on possible claims began. VW said the legal costs of litigating the case to a six-month trial, plus any appeals, made settlement “the most prudent course of action commercially”.

Slater & Gordon – which has 71,000 of the claimants – and Leigh Day were the court-appointed co-lead solicitors, while PGMBM, representing 15,000 claimants, joined them on the claimant steering committee.

In a preliminary issues ruling in April 2020, the High Court decided that VW tried to cheat clean air regulations by using a so-called defeat device installed on 1.2m VW, Audi, Skoda and SEAT diesel vehicles with EA189 engines to trick compliance tests. The Court of Appeal refused permission to appeal.

In a statement, the Volkswagen Group said it would, “once again, like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to their customers for the two mode software installed in the EA189 vehicles”.

It continued: “The Volkswagen Group will continue to work to rebuild the trust of their customers here in England & Wales. This settlement represents an important further stage in that process.”

Slater & Gordon chief executive David Whitmore said: “The settlement avoids the need for a lengthy, complex and expensive trial process and achieves a financial result that is fair and right for all claimants.”

Slater & Gordon’s cases have been backed since 2016 by third-party funder Therium Capital Management. It is not clear whether the settlement includes VW paying funders’ fees or whether they will come from claimants’ damages.

The settlement is far from the end of the road for emissions litigation against VW – as other engine models are the subject of claims too – while several other car manufacturers are also in the crosshairs, such as Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Vauxhall, Ford, Citroen, Peugeot, Renault, Nissan, Skoda, Jaguar, Volvo, Hyundai and Land Rover.

Leigh Day alone said it currently represented over 125,000 car owners in all.

    Readers Comments

  • Gina Vardy says:

    So if Slater & Gordon had 71,000 and PGMB had 15,000 does that mean co/lead solicitors Leigh Day had 5,000?

  • Ron Th4 says:

    Solicitors representing my VW emissions settlement, are taking part of my settlement for legal fees. However, everything I read indicates that VW have agreed yo pay legal fees separately.

  • Eamonn Lynch says:

    Just been contacted by Slater & Gordon … my claim settlement is £350! Not sure where £3k each has come from.

  • Jim says:

    Same here! £350 seems very, very low.

  • Neil says:

    I’ve just received a cheque for £350. Sounds a bit fishy to me. Seems like we’ve been ripped off twice.

  • Jack Warham says:

    My compensation is £1700 not 2100 why is this?

  • Al says:

    Settlement was about £2100 per claimant, they got their legal fees paid, so how do they justify taking 83% of the payout. I don’t recall agreeing to that. Has anybody actually seen the settlement document?

  • Brian says:

    I also only got £350, I have asked Slatter and Gordon repeatedly for an explanation but they refuse to give the calculation. Where has all the money gone?

  • Brian says:

    No and they won’t give any details where the money has gone, they act as if the money is their and their clients

  • Daniel Lee says:

    Similarly for me. I owned 4 cars that were accepted as part of the group litigation – all registered on Slater Gordon’s portal. I have received £810 for one car. Questions about absence of payment for the remaining cars have gone unanswered?

  • Ripped off says:

    I had 3 cars. One was a new A4 Avant and I got. £350 per car. Feel totally ripped off.

  • Charlene John-Lewis says:

    This is an absolute disgrace. I feel this is going to come back and bite the firms. Just received a cheque for £203.20 for my VW emissions claim with Bond Turner when actually it was supposed be approximately £800. I will not be cashing their cheque. Someone please make this make sense. I wonder what Martin Lewis will make of this!

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