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VW emission scandal: Is there a health risk?

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What has happened and what might be the aftershocks for VW owners

In recent news you would of seen that VW has become subject to a worldwide scandal involving cheating emission figures of it’s fleet. This at first was only said to have affected the American market, but now there are fresh claims that it could also have affected the European market as well. This means that VW owners could have been mis-sold their car on the basis its real emission levels.

What has VW done?

It has been reported that VW has been investigated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for using illegal software to cheat emission tests. This allowed there diesel cars to emit more than 40 times more pollution than legally allowed and has resulted in an investigation and subsequently the recall of over 482,000 VW and Audi vehicles produced since 2009.

What are the implications for VW owners?

The biggest immediate implication of the announcement was the slump in the share prices for the company, which was followed by the resignation of their CEO, Martin Winterkorn. The other major implication of the announcement is the recall of thousands of cars that people have bought in good faith and who may now potentially be left without a vehicle. Their are no current figures that show the extent at which the UK may be effected, but it’s only a matter of time before we may potentially see UK cars being recalled.

Should we be worried about health risks?

On the 24th September 2015, Italy announced that they are potentially going to carry out a study to see if there are any health risks to VW owners that may own a car that has cheated emissions. The health risks could include the safety of the current diesel filters used in VW cars. It is also estimated that the emission cheat could have added another 1 million tonnes of extra pollution into our atmosphere, but at the moment this is all speculative and there is no cast-iron evidence. What it does do though is open up the floodgates for claims that other car firms may have also cheated emissions, such as the BMW X3.

What compensation may be available?

According to the Guardian newspaper, it is believed that VW has set aside millions of pounds in preparation for the potential lawsuits they may face from car dealers, owners and shareholders.

“If the Volkswagen scandal applies to cars in the UK then this has the potential to be one of the largest group action lawsuits this country has seen.”

This suggests that if you own a car that has been affected by the emission scandal, you may be entitled to some form of compensation, but it is still very early days, and speculation is at its highest. If more cases are reported and new revelations occur in the next few weeks, we will then see where owners and dealers stand in legal terms. The investigation into health risks from filters and added pollution in our air may also prove to have legal ramifications for VW, but this may take a number of months or even years to fully investigate.

What to do next

At this current moment we would advise VW owners to wait to see if figures confirm the scale at which the UK VW market has been affected. Once this has been established or dismissed, the likely outcome is that there may be emission tests of cars built after 2009. This may result in your car being recalled and tested.

What happens when this is proved it yet unknown. Will they offer compensation? Will cars be repaired? Will you have to pay more vehicle tax? These are all questions that need to be answered for worried diesel VW owners, but rest assured that over the next few days we will start to find out more about what the scenario looks like for UK owners.

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