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German court: Drivers entitled to refunds over Volkswagen diesel emissions

The court ruling essentially provided a template for thousands of lawsuits, and it says affected drivers can return vehicles for partial refunds.

Volkswagen badge on steering wheel
VW is going to have to pay up -- again.
Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

It's been five years since Volkswagen's diesel emissions scandal surfaced, yet the repercussions around the world are, in some cases, still being hashed out. And in the latest court ruling, it delivered more bad news for the automaker.

Germany's highest civil disputes court ruled owners of Volkswagen cars impacted by the emissions defeat device are entitled to a partial refund and can return their cars to the company, Reuters reported Monday. The ruling essentially gives some 66,000 other lawsuits a path to settle.

VW didn't immediately return Roadshow's request for comment, but the publication said the company will work with owners to have them keep the cars and arrange a one-time payment. While the US took the cars off the road and issued a staggering number of fines, European officials told VW to update the cars to put them in compliance. In total, VW has spent around $33 billion worldwide to settle lawsuits and pay fines for its wrongdoing.

Now, the sum will grow with payments to German drivers who've held onto the cars, though the automaker already put aside almost $1 billion to award over 200,000 others who decided to join a class-action lawsuit on the matter.

Following the diesel deceit, VW abandoned its long-running TDI engines in the US and instead sunk development into electric cars. Its first EV, the ID 3, launched in Europe, though the US will get an ID 4 electric SUV in the near future. VW also rolled out its Electrify America subsidiary as part of an agreement with the US to invest in electric car charging infrastructure.

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