A COURT in Madrid has ruled that German car maker Volkswagen must shell out €16.3 million in compensation to owners affected by the 2015 diesel scandal.
The ruling against the car giant is the latest in a series of legal actions taken around the world in response to the deliberate fixing of emission technology in their new diesel models.
The Spanish consumer organization (OCU) began legal proceedings back in 2016 when it emerged that VW was reprogramming diesel engines to meet EU standards, when in fact emissions were up to 40% higher than reported.
The technology was designed to initiate a setting on the four-cylinder 2.0-liter TDI engine that brought the CO2 emissions down when the car was subjected to emissions testing, however in normal driving conditions the setting would turn off.
Not only would this setting cause the CO2 released to increase but also improve performance characteristics, a side effect that would put registered figures into question.
A year later, various Porsche, Audi and VW models with the 3.0 liter V6 engine would also be affected.
When it was discovered, various countries across the globe took legal action, leading to VW having to pay out numerous fines and settlements.
The US was the first, with a final settlement figure of €15.3 million and the recall of over 42,000 vehicles.
In total it cost the company upwards of over $33 billion in fines according to Bloomberg.
It also caused the downsizing of over 30,000 staff globally to cover costs of legal action as well as the resignation of the company’s CEO Martin Winterkorn.
In the latest case, the Madrid court has found VW guilty of anti-competitive behaviour and misleading business practices.
If the decision upholds, it will mean that the former market leader will have to pay €16.3 million to owners across Spain, roughly translating to €3,000 per consumer.
The brand will also have to cover the costs of any damage or reprogramming of their engines at authorised dealerships.
The ruling marks the end of a long road for the Spanish judicial system against VW, who have repeatedly searched for a conclusion to the saga.
“Volkswagen has repeatedly rejected searching for a solution for affected consumers in Spain like the company did in other countries like Germany,” said OCU in a statement.