Australia’s Federal Court has ordered that German car manufacturer Volkswagen and its subsidiaries Audi and Skoda give sworn testimony answering why dual-mode software was installed in their diesel vehicles
The Federal Court’s Justice Lindsay Foster made the order in the consumer class actions brought on by law firm Maurice Blackburn, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Bannister Law, on behalf of around 100,000 affected Australian motorists.
“The interrogatory (interrogatory one) calls for a succinct and plain answer to a question which goes to the heart of the present proceedings,” Justice Foster wrote in his judgment.
“It seems to me that it would be a relevant matter for the court to know why it was that the software was developed and installed in the EA189 diesel engine found in vehicles sold in Australia.”
The first court proceedings are scheduled to take place at the end of October.
Jason Geisker, lawyer at Maurice Blackburn, said: “I think these are precisely the sorts of questions that our clients want answers to and that may be why they are precisely the types of questions that Volkswagen would not want to answer.
“Fortunately, affected Australian motorists have access to a very effective class action legal system in Australia. Our system provides victims of mass wrongs, such as the 100,000 locally affected diesel motorists, with a potent way of holding wrongdoing manufacturers to account.
“It is astonishing that these companies which pride themselves on truth in engineering could work so extensively, over such a long period, to develop and implement deceptive software so as to bolster sales of overly polluting diesel vehicles rather developing real ways of genuinely reducing dangerous diesel emissions. Now affected motorists are about to find out the real story.”