100,000 Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda cars in Australia are affected by the company's 'cheat software', the dual-mode switch that detected emissions testing conditions and changed vehicles' performance to create lower emissions. Two open class action lawsuits are underway, and a Federal Court judge has ordered the manufacturer to explain on the stand exactly why the software was installed.
Maurice Blackburn — which obviously has a vested interest, in that it's representing one of two main class actions against Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda in Australia in the Federal Court on behalf of owners — believes that it's the first instance around the world of Volkswagen and its subsidiaries have been directed to answer these questions under oath. From Maurice Blackburn's Jason Geisker, the lawyer leading the class action: "I think these are precisely the sorts of questions that our clients want answers to, and that may be why they are precisely the types of questions that Volkswagen would not want to answer."
Any eligible owner of a 1.6 litre or 2.0 litre diesel engine Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda car is a member of the two open class actions being run by Maurice Blackburn and Bannister Law unless they opt out. Here's a full list of the vehicles affected and included in the class action.
In the US, Volkswagen has given customers the option of buying back their vehicles alongside an additional cash payment in a settlement estimated at $25 billion, according to Choice. Volkswagen in Australia has said that it will not offer compensation to customers, and that it believes the optional software update restores cars to their correct functionality and will not negatively affect resale value.
The first stage of the trial of the class actions and ACCC's claims is scheduled to begin on October 30.