NZ lawyers take aim at Volkswagen

  • 13/10/2015
NZ lawyers take aim at Volkswagen

A local law firm is lining up customers to take on German auto giant Volkswagen if any remedial work on their diesels affects performance or fuel efficiency.

Wellington-based Gibson Sheat is asking owners of possibly affected Volkswagens, Audis and Skodas to get in touch so it can "engage with Volkswagen NZ and other potential defendants in a positive way to achieve a settlement of valid claims".

A settlement could be negotiated but Gibson Sheat wouldn't hesitate to file a claim, it said.

German-based Volkswagen has admitted up to 11 million diesel engines world-wide have been set up to cheat strict US-based emissions restrictions.

Volkswagen NZ says 5548 vehicles in New Zealand have the four-cylinder engines, which while set up to deceive overseas environmental tests, aren't illegal here. The vehicles include Tiguans, Passats, Golfs, Caddys and Amaroks.

The parent company is working on a technical solution, but it hasn't yet been revealed, says local general manager Tom Ruddenklau.

Gibson Sheat says when counting hundreds of cars produced by Audi and Skoda, companies owned by Volkswagen, more than 8000 cars in New Zealand may be affected.

It says Volkswagen is working on a "fix" for the cars fitted with the test-defeating device.

"However, there are concerns that the 'fix' could degrade certain performance characteristics of the affected vehicles, including horsepower and fuel efficiency.

"Affected car owners could be entitled to seek compensation for any increased fuel costs, depreciation of vehicle value, out of pocket expenses and costs associated with the recall and any future repairs that may be required."