Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda class actions

In November 2015, Maurice Blackburn launched Australia’s first and only class actions against European vehicle giants, Volkswagen AG (VW), Audi AG (Audi) and Skoda Auto a.s. (Skoda) following the global diesel emissions scandal being exposed.

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Here in Australia that scandal has impacted around 100,000 motorists with millions more victims elsewhere across the globe.  We believe our class actions provide Australian motorists with the best opportunity to hold these major vehicle manufacturers to account and to obtain appropriate compensation.

UPDATE: The Stage 1 trial of these class actions took place in the Federal Court on Monday, 5 March and concluded on Monday, 19 March. Justice Foster has reserved his judgment on the Stage 1 issues and will deliver judgment in due course.  We do not know how long it will take until judgment is given – it may not be until 2019. During the respondents’ closing submissions, Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda conceded for the first time that these Australian EA189 diesel engine affected vehicles would not have passed the relevant Australian (or European) NOx emissions test limits without the use of the switching software. 

How do I know if my diesel vehicle is affected?

Our class actions are brought on behalf of every person impacted by the diesel emissions scandal here in Australia who holds an interest in any of these affected 1.6 litre or 2.0 litre diesel engine Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda cars.  

See a full list of vehicles affected by the emissions scandal

Will Australian consumers receive any compensation?

This is one of the issues the Court will decide as part of these class actions.

Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda have announced they have no plans to compensate Australian motorists for losses associated with the diesel emissions scandal.  However, in the United States Volkswagen has reached settlement agreements with prosecutors, regulators and consumers totalling in excess of $25 billion in damages, fines and compensation.

In Australia Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda have all announced voluntary recalls for all their affected 1.6 and 2.0 litre diesel cars.  However, in our view, properly and fairly resolving this issue for consumers is not as straightforward as simply updating a vehicle’s software or simply removing the illegal ‘defeat device’ from the affected vehicles.  The diesel emissions scandal has adversely impacted the resale market value of affected cars and tainted the diesel vehicle category generally.

Volkswagen timeline scandal

The impact of the recall works on a vehicle’s engine performance, fuel efficiency, durability of parts, and service intervals over the longer term is by no means guaranteed.  Volkswagen has failed to advise consumers as to how they will manage these impacts or what consumers can do about the diminution of market value in their vehicles as a direct result of this emissions scandal.

We believe that Australia’s class actions systems gives ordinary consumers and motorists the best chance of holding companies like Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda to account in these types of circumstances.  Australian motorists affected by this scandal are encouraged to register their details with us to obtain more information about these class actions.

Who is Maurice Blackburn?

Maurice Blackburn is Australia’s leading class action law firm.  We have achieved the nation’s biggest ever class actions recoveries, with eight of our largest class actions recovering in excess of $100 million each. Collectively our class actions have recovered well over $2 billion in compensation for victims of wrongdoing

How do I register my interest?

Register your interest in our diesel emission class actions and we will provide you with further information about these claims.  Registering your interest allows you to securely record your details with us, including the details of your affected diesel vehicle.  You can also retain us as your lawyers if you wish for us to legally represent your individual claim as part of these class actions.

What about legal costs?

We are conducting these class actions on a No Win, No Fee basis.  There are no out of pocket expenses should you wish to retain us to legally represent you in these class actions.  Well over 17,000 clients have already chosen to retain us as their lawyers in these class actions.

You do not need to retain us as your lawyers to be a group member in the class action.

However, if you do retain us (by accepting our Client Agreement) you will gain immediate access to our specialised services, including access to our team of class action lawyers and paralegals.  As our client we can assist you with:

  • legal advice about your individual claim;
  • assessing your potential individual losses;
  • access to our regular client updates via our Maurice Blackburn Client Portal; and
  • legal representation through the class closure and claims registration stage.

Typically the costs of conducting a class action are apportioned across all group members in the event of a successful outcome, regardless of whether they have retained a lawyer or not. If these claims are successful the Court will ordinarily order the majority of those costs to be paid by the defendants.

Client updates

The Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda class actions stage one trial commenced in the Federal Court of Australia before Justice Foster on Monday 5th March and concluded on Monday, 19 March 2018 after 13 days of hearing.  The stage two trial is set down to begin on Monday. 9 September 2019 and is currently scheduled to run for 8 weeks.

Maurice Blackburn clients receive regular updates about the progress of our class actions and have exclusive access to our Client Portal, which provides further tools to assist.

Contact us for further information

If you would like more information regarding the class action or our No Win, No Fee Client Agreement, please contact us: vw@mauriceblackburn.com.au or 1800 810 812 or check out our Frequently Asked Questions.