New act of Dieselgate: Over 300,000 Volkswagen owners sue company for damages over emissions fraud

More than 300,000 people have joined a collective case against Volkswagen, suing the embattled German auto giant for damages over emissions manipulations.

The number of plaintiffs in the very first collective action against the company in Germany, is expected to be well above 300,000, spokesman for the German Federal Office of Justice, Thomas Ottersbach, said on Wednesday.

As of December 28, 294,000 VW owners had joined the action, and many more claims were submitted in the last three days of 2018. The action against Volkswagen was launched on November 1 by the German consumer rights protection union (VZBV) and the All-German Car Club (ADAC).

The plaintiffs seek to prove that the company deliberately harmed its customers through emissions manipulation. Anyone, who bought diesel cars from the manufacturer, packed with EA189 motors could have joined the action.

The scandal – commonly known as Dieselgate – around manipulated emissions erupted back in 2015, when Volkswagen was forced to admit that it packed its cars with a special software. The undocumented function allowed the cars to engage emissions control systems only during laboratory testing to meet the US regulatory standards, while producing up to 40 times more gases during regular driving.

The admission of the systematic emissions cheating made the company’s shares plummet, as well as resulting in multi-billion fines. Aside from that, its investors sued for damages of nearly $11 billion.