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VW owners seek damages in emissions scandal

Reuters, Dec 31 2017, 19:53 IST
(FILES) This file photo taken on September 29, 2015 shows the logo of German car maker Volkswagen (VW) at a northern Virginia dealer in Woodbridge, Virginia. A US court on December 6, 2017 sentenced former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt to seven years in prison for his role in the German automaker's

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 29, 2015 shows the logo of German car maker Volkswagen (VW) at a northern Virginia dealer in Woodbridge, Virginia. A US court on December 6, 2017 sentenced former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt to seven years in prison for his role in the German automaker's

Swiss consumer protection organisation SKS has filed a claim on behalf of some 6,000 car owners seeking damages from Volkswagen and Swiss car dealer AMAG related to the "Dieselgate" emissions scandal.

The claim has been lodged with the Zurich commercial court.

SKS said it was assuming damages amounted on average to 15% of the initial retail price of the vehicles concerned and that, together with insurance companies supporting the legal action, it wanted to give Swiss-based car owners the possibility to enforce their rights without disproportionate financial risk.

"The cars sold as environmentally-friendly were overpriced from the beginning. Due to the manipulation of the exhaust system, they then lost even more of their value on the secondary market," SKS (Stiftung fuer Konsumentenschutz) said in a statement.

Volkswagen said it would examine the details of the claim once it had them but said it saw no fundamental case as industry experts had not been able to establish any significant loss of value for VW diesel vehicles on the Swiss market.

"The trust and satisfaction of our customers are extremely important to us. However, we are of the opinion that there are no legal grounds for claims connected with the diesel issue," it said in a statement.

Volkswagen said 98% of the 173,000 affected vehicles in Switzerland had already been refitted at no cost to owners.

AMAG, which imports the cars into Switzerland, said in a statement on its website it did not understand why SKS filed the claim because prices on the secondary market for VW diesel cars were at least on the same level or even higher than those of competing models.

It also said it had not acted with the intention of wilfully deceiving customers.

VW admitted in September 2015 to installing secret software in hundreds of thousands of US diesel cars to cheat exhaust emissions tests and make them appear cleaner than they were on the road, and that as many as 11 million vehicles could have similar software installed worldwide.

Earlier in December, Germany's highest court rejected a bid by Volkswagen to suspend the work of a special auditor appointed to investigate management actions in the emissions scandal.

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