The VW Class Action Lawsuit: A Deep Dive


Ever wondered why owning a Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” felt slightly disingenuous? Well, you weren’t alone. In 2015, Volkswagen was caught red-handed using illegal software to cheat emissions tests. This scandal, dubbed “Dieselgate,” led to a complex web of lawsuits, ultimately culminating in the largest automotive class action settlement in U.S. history.

What happened?

Volkswagen equipped specific diesel vehicles with software that detected when the car was undergoing emissions testing. This “defeat device” would temporarily lower emissions to meet regulatory standards, only to unleash a torrent of pollutants during normal driving. This essentially marketed “clean” cars that were, in reality, spewing harmful NOx into the atmosphere.

The legal saga unfolded:

  • 2015: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exposes VW’s emissions cheating, sending shockwaves through the automotive industry.
  • 2016: Hundreds of lawsuits are filed against VW, alleging fraud, environmental damage, and violation of consumer protection laws. These lawsuits are consolidated into a single class action.
  • 2016-2018: Negotiations between VW, the government, and plaintiffs drag on.
  • 2018 & 2019: A series of settlements are reached, totaling a staggering $25 billion. This includes:
    • $10 billion: Buyback or modification of affected vehicles.
    • $2.0 billion: Environmental mitigation programs.
    • $2.7 billion: Compensation to car owners for diminished value.
    • $603 million: To states for environmental damage.

What does it mean for you?

If you owned or leased a 2.0-liter TDI Volkswagen or Audi between 2009 and 2015, or a 3.0-liter TDI Porsche Cayenne between 2014 and 2016, you were likely impacted by the emissions scandal. You may be eligible for compensation from the settlement, even if you have already sold or traded your vehicle.

It’s not over yet:

While the main settlement has been finalized, additional legal battles are still ongoing. These focus on issues such as whether VW adequately compensated owners for diminished value and whether the company should face criminal charges.

Beyond the legal ramifications:

Dieselgate serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of corporate greed and the importance of environmental protection. It also highlights the power of collective action, as thousands of car owners were able to hold a major automaker accountable through the class action lawsuit process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Am I eligible for compensation from the VW settlement?

To be eligible, you must have owned or leased a 2.0-liter TDI Volkswagen or Audi between 2009 and 2015, or a 3.0-liter TDI Porsche Cayenne between 2014 and 2016. You can visit the settlement website to see if your specific VIN is included.

What compensation am I entitled to?

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on several factors, including the model and year of your vehicle, whether you choose to have it bought back or modified, and whether you have already sold or traded it.

How can I claim my compensation?

You can file a claim online or by mail. The deadline to file a claim has passed, but you may still be eligible for late filing if you meet certain criteria.

What are the latest developments in the VW legal saga?

Several lawsuits are still ongoing, including cases against VW executives and claims related to the long-term health impacts of the emissions scandal.

What are the lessons learned from Dieselgate?

Dieselgate underscores the importance of corporate accountability, environmental protection, and consumer rights. It also highlights the effectiveness of class action lawsuits in holding powerful entities responsible.

Where can I find more information about the VW settlement?

You can visit the official settlement website at or contact the settlement administrator by phone at 1-866-706-2072.


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