NEW YORK – Volkswagen owners should be nervous, if not worried about recent news erupting from the German automaker regarding emissions testing. The carmaker recently admitted to installing software that was designed to cheat clean emissions testing in the United States and around the globe.
Under fire from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and governments around the world, the resulting recall will be the largest in VW history – affecting about 11 million cars. The recall is expected to be completed by the end of 2016 but the automaker could face huge lawsuits and according to the EPA, up to $18 billion in fines.
A defective product attorney at Cellino & Barnes says nearly 500,000 vehicles were sold in the United States and they could affect the resale value and the health of millions.
“These vehicles were marketed as ‘clean diesel’ cars to thousands of families in New York,” defective product attorney Steve Barnes said. “Many families bought these cars because they were told the vehicles were better for the environment – now we’re discovering that advertising may not have just been false; we’re finding out these cars were a health hazard.”
The EPA said the cars would emit as much as 40 times the legal limit of pollutants during normal driving. During official emissions testing, the software was programmed to switch engines to a cleaner mode to pass the test.
Class-action lawsuits have already been filed by Volkswagen and Audi owners. Many of the claims cite fraud, breach of contract and a diminished value of the recalled diesel vehicles, which generally sell at a higher price over standard gasoline vehicles.
Lawyers say the cars may have fuel efficiency problems and degraded horsepower after the recalled vehicles are fixed.
“If all the allegations are true, consumers were not only filling their homes and neighborhoods with pollution; they were getting ripped off too,” Barnes said.
The vehicles subject to the recall include:
- 2012-2015 VW Beetles
- 2013-2015 VW Beetle Convertibles
- 2009-2015 VW Jettas
- 2009-2014 VW Jetta SportWagens
- 2009-2015 VW Passats
- 2010-2015 VW Golfs
- 2015 VW Golf SportWagens
- 2010-2015 Audi A3s
If you or a family member bought one of these vehicles, it may be equipped with fraudulent emissions software, which is illegal.