By installing a so-called defeat device in its vehicles to cheat pollution tests, Volkswagen broke the law and should not argue it was merely to protect car engines, a European court has ruled.
Five years ago, the controversy, known as Dieselgate, exploded when the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency found that Volkswagen had installed special software for “clean diesel” vehicles to manipulate U.S. pollution tests.
The German automaker admitted that it had fitted millions of cars with the technology, and it turned out that it was not restricted to the United States to use the cheating app.
The business claimed in Europe that the program could be justified by the fact that, over time, it helped protect the engine.
In the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision, Volkswagen was referred to as Company X, which held that ‘a manufacturer cannot mount a defeat device that systematically improves the efficiency of the vehicle’s emission control system during the approval process and thus obtains the vehicle’s approval.’
After the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a judicial inquiry into whether Volkswagen misled purchasers of diesel vehicles fitted with the system, the case was investigated by the ECJ.
The court dismissed the idea in its detailed and technical ruling that the existence of the system may be justified by the fact that it helps prevent the aging or clogging of the engine.
The presence of such a device must, to be justified, allow the engine to be protected against sudden and exceptional harm, and only the immediate risk of damage resulting in a concrete danger when the vehicle is driven is capable of justifying the use of a device of defeat,”To be justified, the presence of such a device must make it possible to protect the engine from sudden and exceptional damage, and only the immediate risks of damage that result in a concrete danger when the vehicle is driven are capable of justifying the use of a defeat device,”
The ECJ claimed in a separate ruling this summer that EU customers could sue in the country where Volkswagen vehicles fitted with the system were purchased, rather than having to do so in Germany, making it easier for them to take legal action.
Volkswagen acknowledged that about 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide were fitted with fraudulent software that reduced emissions of nitrogen oxide when the cars were placed on a test engine, but permitted higher emissions during normal driving and improved engine efficiency.
The scandal cost Volkswagen EUR 30 billion in fines and legal penalties (£ 26.8 billion) and resulted in millions of cars being recalled.