Problematic Emissions Software Are the Predominant Cause of Action in Audi Lawsuits Relating to 2.0 Liter TDI Clean Diesel Vehicles
Audi and parent company Volkswagen have faced hundreds of lawsuits from angry consumers and been embroiled in investigations by federal and state regulators since information and formal charges by the EPA arose in September of 2015, which credibly established that nearly 600,000 VW and Audi diesel vehicles were emissions non-compliant and sold to consumers in the US car market under highly fraudulent pretenses.
How Many Audi Vehicles Are Part of the Audi Recall Lawsuits?
The owners of the following Audi vehicles have ample grounds to join existing mass claims cases against Audi and other liable parties, or file suit on their own accord as individuals, if having purchased the following emissions non-compliant Audi diesel vehicles, including:
- At least 590,000 VW, Audi, or Porsche vehicles with TDI clean diesel type engines in the United States are subject to an ongoing, unresolved recall process
- Audi vehicles globally account for 2.1 million of the 11 million global consumers whose vehicles contain illegal emissions testing defeat software configurations, which includes those Audi vehicles containing the 2.0l and 1.6 TDI engine, otherwise known as Type EA 189, Type EA 188, and Type EA 288 engines, which as early as
- Of the already luxurious brand, the higher end Audi vehicles, such as the TT and the Quattro all contain similar emissions defeat software as more economic Audi model clean diesel vehicles as well.
- The specific Audi makes and models identified by the EPA and confirmed later by Volkswagen as containing emissions defeat testing software includes any 2009 to 2015 A3 2.0 liter TDI manufactured and marketed by Audi, as well as 2016 Audi Quattro diesels such as the A6, A7, A8, A8L, and the Q5.
- In total, EPA and VW estimates hold that tens of thousands of Audi vehicles currently on American roadways emit emissions as high as forty times the permissible EPA regulatory limits under normal driving conditions. Without the emissions defeat approach, VW and Audi almost certainly could have never achieved a quarter stake in the US consumer diesel car market in as a few as six years.
- While in certain instances, including for certain Audi makes and models, removal of the emissions defeat device software may be sufficient to appease regulators, and in turn, limit certain options of those consumers actually harmed by the purchase or lease of an Audi A3 car with a 4-cylinder diesel engine from 2009 to 2015.
Why Does the Emissions Defeat Software Matter in My Recalled Audi Diesel Vehicle?
The emissions defeat software, which essentially served as an alternative vehicle operating profile configuration that strained all vehicle emissions and processes to ensure compliance with EPA testing procures and regulations, which have long been known to automakers in advance. The Audi and VW emissions defeat software program operated two paths, one which immediately and automatically detected laboratory testing conditions comparable to those done by EPA and other emissions regulators across the globe, and secondly, self-executed a wholesale drop in performance, fuel economy, and other critical aspects of the vehicle and driving experience in real-world conditions, in order to temporarily pass the relatively stringent US emissions regulations mandates for diesel vehicles.
Risks of Worsening Fuel Economy and Driving Performance Found in Audi Lawsuit Claims
In virtually all cases of tested vehicles party to the recall under real-world driving conditions, the worst emissions offenders regularly breached emissions rates forty-times in excess of federal limits, with no Audi or VW vehicle proving capable of coming within six times the EPA legal limit for NOx and other harmful diesel emissions. Moreover, the EPA testing process under the software override hidden by Audi and Volkswagen allowed for grossly overstated fuel economy on nearly every make and model party to the pending Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche diesel vehicle recall. Federal official calls the software a “defeat device” intended to fool emissions testers, whereas even following the EPA public accusations, Audi contends that its software is intended solely for the modification and management of exhaust temperatures, which is not barred by federal regulatory or consumer law.
How Will Audi Fix Vehicles Subject to the Audi Recall of 2.0-literand 3.0-liter Clean Diesel Vehicles?
First, a number of Audi recalls are ongoing, with the most recent involving thousands of A6, A7, and A3 Cabriolet vehicles due to problems in the air bag systems in these vehicles. While this recall with Audi may also result in corrective action and ensuing legal claims by consumers, to date, the Volkswagen Auto Group, Audi, and Federal officials in the US have yet to reach a mutually agreeable recall plan. As recently as January 12, 2016, major player California environmental regulators declined to accept a pending VW and Audi recall process plan, thus once again scuttling any proposed or potential Audi recall fix until further notice.
Contrary to VW, Audi has comparably less vehicles to recall and repair in the US markets, with Audi’s original recall proposition including a relatively costless software fix, with relative being linked to other estimates that state that total retrofitting of an emissions system on an Audi vehicle may cost as much as $7,000 per vehicle to Audi and VW AG. Finally, Audi and VW face civil claims en masse on a global scale, with no less than 250 class action suits being filed against the companies by as early as 45 days after the scandal broke. Moreover, the sheer volume of claimants and claims against the beleaguered German automaker in the US is relatively mirrored in dozens of countries globally as well.
However, while all impacted Audi clean diesel vehicles containing the emissions testing defeat devices are officially under a recall by Volkswagen and Audi for diesel fuel system issues, regulators and officials from Audi and VW have yet to reach a settlement that can provide consumers even a modicum of insight into how their recalled vehicles may be repaired, recalled, bought back, or permitted to remain on the roadways without modification.
Proposed Recall Solutions from Audi and Volkswagen Prompt Consumers to File Audi and VW Lawsuits En Masse
To date, unconfirmed sources party the ongoing VW and Audi clean diesel recall negotiations with CARB and the EPA have stated that a simple software adjustment, expected by no later than the Fall of 2016, will be sufficient to fix the contemporary emissions issues in Audi 2.0 liter TDI vehicles. However, consumers and the companies themselves have noted the following problems left unresolved for consumers in any proposed recall process for Audi cars, often prompting former and existing Audi customers to join in filing a lawsuit against Audi, Volkswagen, and other legally responsible parties. Problems left unfixed by a mere software update on vehicles credibly can include:
- Audi vehicles, especially those diesel models that were almost certainly purchased by consumers for reasons encapsulating more than the fiscal cost-analysis in the consumer’s purchasing calculus, but rather, long-term ecological thinking and the good faith of Audi clean diesel buyers towards the environment was systemically betrayed and exploited by Audi and VW in an illegal attempt to extract premium profits from these buying populations, who indeed did pay a premium to drive the ostensibly ecologically friendly, green clean diesel brand Audi and VW cars.
- The breach of contract any sales of an Audi A3 vehicle from 2009 to 2015, should these vehicles fail to meet basic EPA emissions standards or exhibit significantly less fuel economy than as advertised by Audi and Volkswagen are grounds to file Audi lawsuits
- Claims and lawsuits can be filed by owners, former owners, those currently leasing an Audi vehicle subject to the clean diesel recall, and finally, even former lease holders have filed legal claims against Audi and Volkswagen for financial damages incurred as part of the globally deceptive and fraudulent marketing and sales of emissions non=compliant vehicles
- Consumers have also reflected on the immediate and expected long-term loss in retail resale value of their Audi diesel vehicles subject to the recall, with most commentators agreeing that any software fix will cause a noticeable impact on the driving performance of the Audi model vehicles. Not only would this be a loss sustained by a primary owner, but also, the losses in retail value is one passed along to future consumers that will offer significantly less for these vehicles in light of the impairments to original, albeit illegal, performance being considered by Audi officials to date by way of a new software emissions regulation update proposed for 2016. However, consumer value and spending metrics note that individual Audi vehicles have already lost upwards of 16 percent of their resale value comparable to the same models in the year prior in light of the clean diesel emissions scandal
- Due to what appears to reasonably be considered criminal corporate conduct, including saddling VW and Audi with billions of dollars in potential liability from settlements of lawsuits with regulators and Audi and VW drivers in the US alone, an active minority of VW shareholders have filed suit alleging malfeasance by executives that when revealed to the public, left shareholders losing nearly half of the value of their investments in the automaker companies in a span of less than two (2) weeks with market value recovery being inherently stymied by an unresolved, multi-million vehicle recall process facing Audi globally, with tens of thousands of additional recalled vehicles present in the US markets alone.
How Did Audi Accomplish Such a Massive Emissions and Diesel Engine Fraud?
How the particular approach and strategy to deploy wholesale emissions cheating was accomplished internally at VW or Audi, and whether the scope of the issues dawned on researchers is unclear to date. However, with findings being made in 2014 and reported to CARB and the EPA shortly thereafter, no definitive legal action against Audi or Volkswagen occurred until the abrupt release of an EPA list of citation holding the VW Group and its affiliates liable for billions of dollars in minimal fine infractions per vehicle. The amounts discussed in any case with the federal government thus far have barely considered aloud the rampant violations of federal trade, commerce, and the illegalities of false advertising claims in pursuit of a profit exhibited by Audi and Volkswagen’s historically astoundingly strong inroads into the otherwise vacant diesel consumer car market in the United Sates. The in, according to off record comments by former VW executives, was, of course, the growing eco-consciousness and growing popular appeal of identifying consumer spending with a global consciousness, which appealing towards was a decisive marketing tool for capturing long-lost US diesel car drivers. In this sense, the only roadblock towards capitalizing on such trends in consumer spending was to provide a vehicle or set of vehicles capable of appealing to this demand, which ultimately, proved unfeasible if emissions testing regulations were applied to the new US market VW and Audi diesel vehicles seeking entry into the US consumer car marketplace.
According to some sources, the rapid scaling of emissions defeat software usage in Audi and VW vehicles was a direct response of the companies’ inability to produce a clean diesel, Type EA 189 4-cylinder engine that cam remotely close to extant EPA regulations on NOx emissions. As time progressed, the companies did manage to produce engines capable of meeting EPA and CARB standards, however, elected to expand the software defeat strategy in lieu of compliance until facing public scandal in September of 2015, with newly shipped 2016 models in Audi, Porsche, and VW vehicles still containing emissions defeat software configurations in the command control computer in each vehicle.
Ongoing Litigation in the Form of Audi Lawsuits Filed by Consumers
Conservative estimates hold that consumers of Audi and Volkswagen vehicles may be entitled to billions of dollars in damages collectively, as the fraud perpetrated by both companies ultimately engulfed nearly 11 million vehicles globally.
Those American Audi vehicle consumers who have received cash offers from Volkswagen can accept these funds without relinquishing the right to file suit. However, certain parameters of any buyback or favorable trade-in agreement currently being touted by VW and Audi as a means to regain consumer confidence and mitigate the overall total recall liability, likely ameliorate some or all of the consumers right to file future Audi or VW lawsuits. Having legal counsel involved when making decisions regarding ongoing and changing recall or settlement offers from VW and Audi to consumers will prove extremely helpful in maximizing the returns possible for damages already sustained by consumers.
To date, the largest lawsuits filed against VW and Audi are in the form of federal lawsuits filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the EPA concerning rampant environmental law violations, with the EPA ultimately seeking damages in the billions of dollars while specifically linking the extent of the pollution caused by both Audi and Volkswagen AG as causing quantifiable numbers of future deaths as grounds for filing claims. Moreover, both Audi AG and Volkswagen AG have also recently faced a slew of regulatory fines with most figures reaching into the billions of dollars with Volkswagen AG itself withholding 8.9 billion USD in September of 2015 to deal with only a portion of the expected diesel fraud emissions recalls emanating from the US, with an additional 10.5 million similar claimants across the globe as well having yet to file claims in their respective legal jurisdictions as well. In most all cases, whether individual claims filed in state courts by owners of Audi clean diesel vehicles, or those persons joining large class action type claims against Audi AG and others, the grounds to file suit are all fairly comparable, including
- Consumer claims that Volkswagen and Audi perpetrated breach of contract and breach of good faith acts en masse against all clean diesel vehicle consumers, with criminal conduct arguably being utilized in order to facilitate the breach of duty of care owed to consumers and the general public.
- The claims in Audi lawsuits to date also question the role of false, deceptive, misleading, and inaccurate advertising and marketing used by VW and Audi to make inroads into the US diesel market, while also inappropriately influence the buying decision of nearly 600,000 US TDI type engine, clean diesel car owners, whose vehicles have universally lost prospective resale values ranging from $1,500 to $7,000 less since the emergence of the scandal prior to former sales months
- Individual states have filed lawsuits against Audi and VW for the damages sustained on behalf of the consumers that were residents of the state filing an Audi lawsuit, which to date includes West Virginia.
- To date, based on multi-district litigation proceedings in light of the sheer volume of claimants and claims values, with at least one confirmed MDL case occurring in the US District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan, with most legal observers noting that a settlement is fairly certain for claimants, whose case is bolstered incredibly by the public admission of wrongdoing by VW officials
- Finally, as the recall process for Audi clean diesel vehicles, as well as those clean diesel vehicles from Volkswagen and now Porsche, numerous additional vehicles have been added to the recall list due to the presence of illegal emissions testing defeat software. Of those Audi vehicles identified to date, the following are known to be subject to recall per the EPA and Volkswagen officials, or most certainly offers a consumer some legal basis for filing a lawsuit, if having owned or leased the following Audi clean diesel vehicles including: Audi A3 TDI 2.0-liter diesel vehicles from 2009 to 2015, as well as any Audi 6 or Audi 7 Quattro model from the years 2014 to as recently as the 2016 new arrivals, as well as the 2014 to 2016 models of the Audi A8, A8L, and the and the Audi Q5. Finally, regulators and both companies have acknowledged that the Audi Q7 with the model years 2009 to 2016 also contains an illegal emission defeat device and will be subject to any proposed recall process.
How Audi Owners Should Act When Determining Whether to File an Audi Lawsuit under Any Numbers of Viable Legal Grounds
Staying actively involved in any ongoing legal proceeding against VW, Audi, or Porsche regarding clean diesel emissions fraud will require legal counsel’s insights and assistance, however, as noted by the EPA itself, VW and Audi will likely pay out billions of dollars in consumer litigation liabilities over the next several years. Consumers of those clean diesel Audi vehicles should consult with legal counsel directly to establish their right to file future claims against the companies, especially pending the outcome of any recall process, if approved by CARB and the EPA, which almost certainly will not reflect the individual consumers’ best interests on a practical, personal level in the way that filing suit and making viable claims for damages could do with the help of legal counsel in an Audi lawsuit.