As Volkswagen admits to fitting its diesel vehicles with software that allows them to pass emissions tests, over 230 federal class action lawsuits have been filed against the automobile manufacturer. The California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed the problem last month and the first lawsuit was filed hours later in a San Francisco court.
The lawsuit accuses the company of misleading customers by selling automobiles that are supposedly environmentally friendly but were actually emitting as much as 40 times the legally allowed amount of nitrogen oxide. Legal experts expect the cases to be consolidated before a single judge and Volkswagen could face possible criminal charges and a federal probe. The company faces potential criminal, civil, and regulatory enforcement in other countries as well.
VW has apologized and accepted the resignation of its chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, and have already set aside approximately $7.3 billion to deal with the costs of recalling and repairing vehicles. Even if Volkswagen repairs the diesel cars’ emissions systems, consumers question if they will be left with vehicles that do not perform as they had when purchased.