BERLIN: Volkswagen will face another class action lawsuit over its rigging of diesel emissions tests, this time at home when Germany introduces a new law in November.
State-financed consumer protection organization vzbv said on Wednesday it would undertake "pioneering work" with motorists' lobby group ADAC by filing for damages on behalf of car owners.
The class action was made possible after the German cabinet approved a draft law in May that will allow consumer protection organisations to litigate on behalf of the consumers they represent, avoiding the high legal costs that might otherwise put people off bringing legal action.
Vzbv said it would aim to show that owners of VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat cars with so-called type EA 189 diesel engines had been intentionally harmed by the Volkswagen's use of software that was used to cheat emissions tests
Volkswagen said the possibility did not change its view that there was no legal basis for consumers to make claims in connection to the diesel issue in Germany.
Vzbv said it wanted to get compensation for some 2 million owners of diesel cars that were not as environmentally friendly as VW said they were at the time of purchase.
VW admitted in 2015 it had used illegal engine control devices to cheat U.S. emissions tests.
Nearly all U.S. owners of affected cars agreed to take part in a US$25 billion settlement in 2016 in the United States that addressed claims from them, environmental regulators, U.S. states and dealers and included buyback offers and additional compensation for about 500,000 owners.
VW had rejected criticism that the compensation for U.S. car owners was not extended to other jurisdictions.
Consumers have brought lawsuits in countries including Switzerland, Australia and Belgium.
Information for motorists on how to join the German action is due to be posted on https://www.musterfeststellungsklagen.de.
(Reporting by Hans-Edzard Busemann; Additional reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Tassilo Hummel and Ludwig Burger; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Alexander Smith)