Volkswagen Emissions Scandal - Class Actions, US Tax Fraud Investigation Photo:
Trevor Collett | Oct, 09 2015 | 9 Comments

The latest updates in the ongoing Volkswagen ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal involve more financial pain for the German carmaker.

Following announcements from Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi in Australia that almost 100,000 cars locally are caught up in the debacle (with pending voluntary recalls from each), a class action that was waiting in the wings has now been launched.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers are preparing a class action against Volkswagen and are calling for affected parties to register interest.

The law firm says it had heard from hundreds of owners before the official announcements from Volkswagen, and that it will continue to monitor the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation.

The class action in Australia joins numerous actions in various markets around the world, including in the US where the entire dieselgate debacle kicked off a few weeks back.

Volkswagen’s new CEO, Matthias Müller, said this week that the global recall program would begin in January with the aim of having all problem vehicles sorted by the end of 2016.

Matthias Mueller
Matthias Mueller

Lawyers in the US are sceptical, however, claiming Volkswagen is deliberately delaying the release of information to its owners.

Volkswagen will likely have additional tax issues connected to dieselgate also added to its headache.

US lawmakers are investigating whether the carmaker may have fraudulently claimed tax subsidies, and tax concessions for buyers of the affected diesel vehicles, available to companies selling ‘green’ cars in the US market. The US Government will likely demand that the monies, amounting to tens of millions of dollars in tax subsidies and concessions, are repaid in full.

That may be the least of the company's problems. From a market capitalisation of US$126billion in May (Forbes), it has collapsed, taking investors' funds on a rapid downward spiral, to now sit at US$55billion.

Speaking of the financial consequences for the company, Müller told Volkswagen employees in Wolfsburg earlier this week that: “One thing is certain: the burden will be big. Potentially very big.”

Dieselgate still has a long way to run for Volkswagen. Company bosses will face the music in parliamentary hearings set down for next week in both the US and the UK.

Stay tuned to TMR for more.

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