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VW settles Australian diesel scandal class action

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Car maker Volkswagen has settled multimillion-dollar Australian class actions over the global diesel emissions scandal, which affected about 100,000 vehicles locally and 11 million worldwide.

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The owners of the Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda vehicles will be able to access millions in compensation, the law firm leading the class action, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, says.

Under the agreement, which must be approved by the Federal Court, a minimum of $87 million will be available to Australian motorists, which could rise to $127 million depending on the size of the claimant group.

The amount does not include legal costs, which will be paid on top of the amount paid to motorists.

However, Volkswagen makes no admission of liability under the agreement.

The actions followed revelations in 2015 that Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda had fitted their cars with software that could detect test conditions and cut its emissions accordingly to improve results.

Maurice Blackburn principal lawyer Julian Schimmel said the settlement was a significant victory for motorists.

“It’s an important step in providing justice and redress to motorists who claim they were financially impacted by the diesel emissions issue,” he told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

VW lead plaintiff Alister Dalton said the settlement was a positive outcome even though Volkswagen lied to them but did not admit guilt.

“The fact they have come to the table to actually reach a settlement is an achievement itself,” he said.

Audi lead plaintiff Robyn Richardson said she was relieved by the result after a “long and winding” road.

Volkswagen said the settlements were “a further step towards overcoming the diesel issue”.

-AAP

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