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EPA to Volkswagen: release Dieselgate recall plan before deadline or face billions in fines

The head of Volkswagen’s U.S. division revealed that the company would soon make public its plans to fix problems with VW and Audi diesel models involved in the Dieselgate emissions scandal. Volkswagen Group of America chief executive Michael Horn made the announcement at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the German automaker’s first North American auto show since news of the emissions cheating scandal broke earlier this year.

Volkswagen announced in September that it would recall 11 million vehicles worldwide—including 500,000 in the U.S.—after admitting that it had deliberately misled regulators and consumers about the performance and emissions of its “TDI Clean Diesel” models. VW admitted that it had installed a “defeat device” on certain diesel vehicles—including the VW Jetta TDI, Passat TDI, Golf TDI, Beetle TDI, and Audi A3 TDI. This computer software was designed to make the TDI models seem like they emitted significantly less pollution than they actually did. According to the EPA, the recalled VW and Audi “clean diesel” models emitted up to 40 times the agency’s maximum allowed level of the greenhouse gas nitrogen oxide.

The EPA required Volkswagen to submit a proposal for how the company planned to fix the emissions issues with the recalled diesel models before the recall would be allowed to go into effect. This delay has meant weeks of uncertainty for VW and Audi diesel owners, many of whom have been unable to sell their vehicles or take them for state inspections because of Volkswagen’s delay in issuing the recall plan.

Earlier this week, the EPA informed Volkswagen that the company could face up to $18 billion in fines if it failed to meet the Friday deadline for submitting its recall plan to the agency. In addition to the billions in fines facing the company, Volkswagen is also be facing billions in legal liability regarding the thousands of lawsuits filed by VW and Audi owners against the company. Volkswagen faces several class action lawsuits as well as numerous consumer fraud lawsuits filed by TDI diesel owners who were misled about the performance and drivability of their cars due to VW’s fraudulent marketing of these vehicles.

Widespread Fallout from the Dieselgate Emissions Scandal

Although the details of the plan for the VW diesel recall have yet to be announced, experts believe that the plan will likely entail a significant loss in performance in order to bring the vehicles into compliance with federal emissions standards. This loss of performance could also mean significant losses in value for the owners of VW and Audi diesel models.

Last month, the EPA announced that it had uncovered a “defeat device” on additional VW, Audi, and Porsche models not included in the initial recall announcement. Investigators have also uncovered emissions problems with gasoline-powered vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen, although so far these models have not been the subject of any recall plans announced by VW.

Volkswagen has offered a $500 Visa gift card to owners of the recalled TDI models as part of a “Goodwill Package” designed to assuage owners of the diesel models. The goodwill package also includes a $500 voucher for dealership services and free roadside assistance from VW for three years. Volkswagen and Audi diesel owners who accept the goodwill package are still eligible to file a lawsuit against VW, despite the fact that this information is not included in the letter sent by the automaker to vehicle owners.

Lawsuits Filed Against Volkswagen on Behalf of VW and Audi Owners

Volkswagen, Audi, or Porsche vehicle owners who purchased or leased one of the diesel models involved in the VW emissions cheating scandal may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the automaker. Numerous commercial fraud lawsuits and class action litigation claims have already been filed against Volkswagen by VW and Audi owners nationwide.

The vehicles included in the Volkswagen diesel recall include the 2009-2015 Audi A3 TDI, the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, the 2016 Audi A7 Quattro, the 2016 Audi A8, the 2016 Audi A8L, the 2016 Audi Q5, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI. Emissions “defeat devices” have also been discovered on the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, and the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5, although so far these vehicles have not been recalled. Further investigation into the Volkswagen scandal may reveal that additional VW or Audi models are also affected by the diesel engine emissions issue.

If you purchased or leased one of the VW, Audi, or Porsche diesel-powered vehicles involved in the “Dieselgate” recall, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson to learn more about whether you qualify to file a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation about your case, please contact us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions to get started.

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