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Volkswagen Emissions Scandal – How does this affect me and my car?

Posted on: October 6, 2015 by Platinum Direct

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In possibly one of the most wide-ranging and costly scandals the car industry has ever seen, nearly 11 million Volkswagen diesel cars face a potential recall after it was uncovered that the engine software was designed to deliberately “cheat” on emissions tests.

At the time of writing, Australians have still been left in the dark about the local impacts of this as VW Australia is waiting on “advice from its German head office”. In their own investigations, News Cop Australia claim to have found over 50,000 VWs and their owners could be impacted.

As this is a complicated and developing story, let’s catch you up on the details before we cover how this scandal could affect Volkswagen drivers across Australia.

The story so far

This scandal is a huge and complicated issue that covers everything from deliberately misleading consumers to intentionally flouting national and international laws across the globe.

On September 18th it was revealed that the engine management software for some Volkswagen diesel cars, such as the Golf Hatchback, Tiguan SUV and Passat sedan, sensed when the engine was being tested and deliberately limited other functions in order to pass stringent emissions laws.

When the cars get on the road, the engine stops limiting these functions, which while improving performance up to the advertised standards, emits a level of toxins up to 35 times higher than what is legally allowed in the US and Europe.

“An economic catastrophe bigger than Greece.”

Australia, being the nation of petrol heads that we are, has more liberal emissions laws than the US – but the limit is certainly not 35 times higher than the American standard!

The potential economic fallout for Volkswagen, the world’s largest carmaker in terms of sales, has been described as a “catastrophe bigger than Greece”.

Stock prices in Volkswagen have plummeted by over 20%, and they face multi-billion dollar fines – not including the huge amount of compensation VW will have to pay out in upcoming lawsuits.

How does this affect me?

Currently, it is unclear exactly which cars have had their emissions tests falsified, but VW is preparing to release exactly which brands and models have been affected in the near future. However, it is possible that any diesel car sold in Australia between 2009 and 2015 will be called into question.

The only certainty at this point is that Volkswagen owners do not need to worry about the safety or performance of their cars due to this issue – the software only affects performance under the specific conditions of a laboratory emissions test, and won’t kick in while on the open road.

Be prepared for a recall.

It is also unclear whether a mass recall in on the table, but VW has set aside upwards of €6 billion to deal with the scandal’s fallout, implying a pretty serious operation in the works. It is possible that VW owners will have to return their cars to the dealership and have the car’s internal software replaced.

You may be entitled to compensation.

But what is more worrying for Volkswagen is the compensation they may have to pay out to thousands of drivers who have been misled by the false emissions claims.

As you can see from the VW advert below, Volkswagen cars were being sold on the basis that they were eco-friendly and environmentally conscious, based on information now determined to be fake.


Australian law firm, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, have said they are investigating the possibility of an Australian consumer action lawsuit against VW.

Mr. Scattini, a representative of the firm, said that people “have bought these cars thinking they were getting a clean, green car with good mileage but it is looking increasingly likely that for many people worldwide that is not the case”.

If the law firm is successful, VW owners could be in the running for some serious compensation. Especially as an unfortunate side effect of this scandal is that many owners will see that “these cars will be worth significantly less for the consumers trying to sell at a later date”.

Mr. Scattini continued, “Given this, we believe that if it is confirmed that Australian cars are impacted then consumers may have grounds to take action against Volkswagen, including pushing for extended warranties given people as yet are still in the dark about the full impacts of this issue.”

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