The news about auto recalls and auto defects seems to be never-ending. Just this month, General Motors (GM) settled with the U.S. Justice Department over faulty ignition switches. GM will pay $900 million because its executives failed to report the problems, linked to 124 deaths. Toyota, according to a settlement reached last year, will pay $1.2B over charges the company did not warn drivers of its vehicles’ unintended acceleration problems.
Now German automaker Volkswagen is in hot water. The company’s executives have come clean about a dirty little secret: Volkswagen’s allegedly eco-friendly diesel line has been cheating U.S. and California emissions testing.
What is the problem with diesel Volkswagens and Audis?
Already lawsuits are beginning to mount after U.S. regulators made public that VW installed a component into diesel engines that switched to a clean driving mode during smog tests but reverted to higher emissions when testing was done. It is estimated that cars with the component spew pollution at up to 40 times the allowable rates under normal driving conditions. The device is said to be found in about half a million U.S. cars and 11 million vehicles worldwide.
The component can be found in the Volkswagens with diesel engines or diesel-powered Audi A3 cars made from 2009 to 2015.
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed already including residents from nearly every state in the U.S. Criminal investigations have been started by multiple state attorneys general including Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
A federal criminal probe into Volkswagen’s activities is also anticipated. It is estimated that the VW could face a fine of up to $18M from U.S. authorities. In addition, the company is rumored to be under investigation by other countries including Germany, South Korea, and Australia.
Can an auto defect lawyer help?
Auto defects may cause a variety of problems for drivers, ranging from expensive repairs and unusable vehicles to creating dangerous driving conditions. Laws require that auto manufacturers’ vehicles meet minimum safety standards and environmental standards. While we hope that new technologies developing through the years make vehicles safer and more efficient, that is not always the case as we have seen with recent auto recalls.
The auto defect lawyers at Lopez McHugh aim to help consumers in car and auto defect lawsuits. We are committed to protecting the safety and rights of automobile consumers across the U.S. If you or someone you know was injured, physically or financially, contact a Lopez McHugh auto defect lawyer to receive a free consultation.