However, VW continues to deny responsibility before the Austrian courts – and has now also blocked a historical clarification from the Supreme Court (OGH). “As a result, the courts are still saddled with thousands of unresolved cases that were expecting clarification from this OGH decision,” said a disappointed VKI.
“While Volkswagen has already paid compensation in the USA, Germany and Great Britain, there is no offer of compensation in Austria, but there are continuing attempts to delay the inevitable compensation payments,” consumer advocates accuse the car company.
Specifically, Volkswagen repeatedly made new comparative offers to the plaintiff, who obtained a leading European Court of Justice ruling on the thermal window based on its July 2022 lawsuit, even as the plaintiff accepted Volkswagen’s offer and waived further legal action – thus preventing One legal clarification.
“This step is legally permissible, but it is deeply unfair to other customers who have suffered damages and to the Austrian courts,” says attorney Michael Podushka, who also represents and adds to VKI in the class-action claims against VW if reasonable settlements were made at the start of the proceedings (as in other countries), VW would have given the Austrian judiciary a lot of time and saved trouble.”
“Affected Austrian motorists still have to wait for adequate compensation. This is very unsatisfactory. Volkswagen should finally enter into constructive talks with VKI so that the affected parties can quickly obtain their rights,” working chamber chair Renate Anderl criticized. Social Affairs Minister Johannes Rauch (the Greens), who is responsible for consumer protection, is demanding adequate compensation from Volkswagen for those affected. “There is absolutely no reason why there should be any unequal treatment here compared to other countries.”
On the other hand, Volkswagen points out that in a double number of cases with individual plaintiffs, it was found to be adequate. However, the automaker justified this in a statement by saying that first instance courts had found incorrect facts about the temperature range in which the maximum exhaust gas recirculation (thermal window) occurs. And in the Supreme Court, it was not possible to correct these errors in the first place for “procedural reasons”.
Controversies revolve around EA189 compounds with a thermal window of less than 10 degrees to 33 degrees Celsius or more. Volkswagen said this means these vehicles meet both the ECJ and the Federal Motor Transportation Authority standards. OGH had decided on the basis of the trial court’s findings, and VW justified the out-of-court settlement.
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