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Volkswagen may face billions in liability over ‘Dieselgate’ recall

Volkswagen says that it has set aside about $7.3 billion—or about half a year’s profits—to cover the costs of fixing the recalled diesel vehicles, fines, and other costs related to the emissions software problem with its vehicles. Some of these funds will also likely be used to cover costs regarding the company’s legal liability to victims who purchased Volkswagen vehicles that do not pass emissions testing under real world driving conditions.

Although only a few class action lawsuits have been filed against Volkswagen so far, legal experts predict that the German automaker may face additional litigation from angry drivers who feel they were misled when they purchased the company’s “clean diesel” cars. Some experts have predicted that the recall could have a significant and lasting impact on the Volkswagen brand based on the scale of the problem and the company’s deliberate effort to mislead regulators and consumers. Others fear that owners of the recalled cars will face a serious diminution in the value of their cars.

For many older drivers, diesel-powered vehicles evoke memories of unreliable, high pollution cars from decades past. Volkswagen’s marketing of its new “clean diesel” vehicles sought to erase these memories with a newer fleet of vehicles that the company said offered drivers both performance and environmental friendliness. Many drivers opted for Volkswagen “clean diesel” vehicles after test driving other environmentally friendly autos such as the Toyota Prius or the Nissan Leaf, which many found less fun to drive. The revelation that Volkswagen’s diesel-powered autos emitted 40 times more nitrogen oxide than EPA-permitted levels in order to attain these drivability improvements has left many car owners who purchased the vehicles feeling betrayed by the automaker.

Drivers who purchased a diesel-powered car manufactured by Volkswagen may be eligible to file a consumer fraud lawsuit against the company, whether it be a stand-alone lawsuit or a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of other car owners. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an experienced attorney who can provide you with legal advice regarding your rights.