Browse over 9,000 car reviews

Porsche and Audi owners join Volkswagen class action

Porsche and Audi customers join VW owners in diesel scandal class action in Australia.

As the new global boss of VW promises to compensate customers for a loss in resale value, lawyers are lining up in Australia to represent more owners of cars with software that can cheat diesel emissions tests.

Volkswagon-owned luxury brands Porsche and Audi have been added to the Australian class action against the German car giant after the diesel scandal spread to more models.

Owners of the Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and Audi Q5 SUVs equipped with the 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 -- also used in the Volkswagen Touareg -- have been added to the class action led by Maurice Blackburn lawyers.

With already more than 13,000 respondents, it is one of the biggest class actions ever undertaken in Australia.

While the Volkswagen Group is in the process of recalling 11 million vehicles worldwide, the diesel scandal affects approximately 100,000 cars sold in Australia across the VW, Skoda, Audi and Porsche brands.

In a media statement, the principal for Maurice Blackburn lawyers, Jason Geisker, said the class action was "the most effective and efficient way" for owners to be compensated.

While US owners of affected cars have already been offered $500 as an "initial goodwill gesture", Volkswagen in Australia is yet to offer any compensation to local customers.

"Where there are serious cases of corporate misconduct on such a large scale it is important that everyone affected has the opportunity to participate in the claim and gain access to high quality legal representation," said Mr Geisker.

"Whether or not people realise it, they now hold tainted vehicles that do not comply with Australian standards, which we allege couldn't have been imported into our country had the truth been disclosed.

"All motorists the subject of this scam should be treated equally and compensated in accordance with their full legal entitlements, nothing more and nothing less."

The penalties could be extremely large and way beyond just one per company

Volkswagen is facing billions of dollars in fines overseas and in Australia.

A little known section of Australian motor vehicle regulations reveals companies can be fined $108,000 for each individual car on the road that has been approved for importation and sale based on paperwork with false claims.

With an estimated 100,000 diesel cars sold locally by Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi and Porsche from 2009 to 2015, that puts the fines into the billions of dollars in Australia -- if it were to be enforced.

Furthermore, ACCC chairman Rod Sims says the company may be hit with a $1.1 million fine per false claim.

For example, if the fuel economy and emissions claims on the government rating label on Volkswagen Group diesel cars are found to be false, VW can be fined for at least two misleading claims per model -- up to $2.2 million.

With more than 20 diesel models across the Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi and Porsche brands sold locally between 2009 and 2015 the risk of that group of fines is more than $44 million alone.

"The penalties could be extremely large and way beyond just one per company," Mr Sims told News Corp Australia last month.

"One offence is misleading consumers about what VW has said when they've advertised the cars," says Sims, "while the other offence is by having these devices in use in the cars, that's a breach of (Australia's car regulations)."

The additional legal action comes as the new global boss of VW, Matthias Muller, a former Porsche executive, addressed media in Germany overnight.

He admitted the software cheat had been used for 10 years and it will take more time still to fix all the cars.

"Our experts looked at the software. Analysed all of the relevant functions. The software has been there for more than 10 years. The (rectification) process has not been completed. We're talking about millions of lines of code. We need different solutions for different engines and variants. Some can be fixed with a software update. Some need additional hardware," said Mr Muller.

Meanwhile, VW denied rumours that the car giant may sell off some of its luxury brands such as Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti to help pay for the fines and millions of recalls.

"There are no plans to sell off assets" and "there is no indication that any board member was involved", he said.

When asked if the rectification work would affect vehicle performance, Mr Muller said: "We're offering technical solutions that do not impact the performance of our cars."

And on the touchy subject of compensation, Mr Muller added: "In terms of a compensation package our customers are always at the focus of our attention, and we are working on an overall package for all affected markets."

The law firm says customers can register their interest on its website.

The new list of cars added to legal action in the VW diesel scandal:

Porsche Cayenne (2013-2016)
Volkswagen Touareg (2013-2016)
Audi Q5 (2009-2016)
Audi A6 (2009-2016)
Audi Q7 (2009-2016)
Audi A7 (2009-2016)
Audi A8 (2009-2016)

View cars for sale