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Volkswagen Dismisses Judge’s Call to Settle German Class-Action Suit On Emission Test Rigging

Volkswagen on Monday dismissed a German judge’s call to settle a customer class-action suit over its diesel emissions tests cheating, saying there was no case to answer.

VW admitted utilizing illegal software program to cheat U.S. diesel engine tests in 2015, a scandal which has cost it over $30 billion in vehicle refits, fines, and provisions.

It was answering to a call by the judge of the Higher Regional Court of Brunswick, which is close to the automaker’s headquarters, on the first day of hearings in the lawsuit.

Around 470,000 car owners have registered to take part in the suit, and the Brunswick court booked the local city hall to permit for large numbers of observers.

When the diesel scandal came out 2.4 million automobiles with defeat devices were on German roads. In the meantime, 99% have received a software program update.

The scam still clouds over VW, with prosecutors last week accusing its Chief Executive Herbert Diess of holding back market-transferring information on the rigged tests.

The VW board has supported Diess, who’s leading the automaker’s efforts to reinvent itself as a winner of cleaner driving.

The German class-action was made possible after the cabinet accepted a draft law in 2018 permitting consumer protection groups to litigate on behalf of customers, avoiding the high legal prices that might put people off legal action.

Discussions were unlikely to be straightforward; however, the court would want to support and not block them, judge Michael Neef said.