Drivers of Volkswagen diesel cars, following the emission scandal engulfing the company- will no doubt want to know whether they have brought a car with the anticipated performance.
There’s probably a list of worries in your mind, the original cost of the car? Its value should you want to resell it, and the consequences of this scandal become clearer in terms of pounds and pence. Yet monetary clarity remains an aloof view.
Experts are still divided as to whether or not the price of second hand VWs will be affected. Regardless of lawyers circling, there is just not enough information to confirm whether drivers will, or will not, have a claim for compensation.
So what do we already know?
Volkswagen has admitted they had used software in the United States to deliver untruthful emission test results. In their own words ‘its totally screwed up’.
500,000 vehicles in the US have been affected. The Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Audi A3 models in the US from 2009-2015 and the Passat from 2014- 2015, had the devices which produced modified results.
This is only a small number of the 11 million cars around the world that have the same equipment, but we are still awaiting for Volkswagen to reveal how many are in the UK and other countries in Europe.
It’s also unclear whether these vehicles, despite having this device, would break any emission rules.
Switzerland has very strict air pollution laws, engines must be switched off at traffic lights, and now the swiss has taken the unleaded step of banning the sale of all new cars from VW equipped with a certain type of diesel engine.
So what will happen next?
VW is preparing to release more details about which brands and models could be affected, and the next steps for the drivers and the company.
They have said they will cover any costs involved, having already set aside £4.7bn. Drivers affected in the US should be expecting a recall at some point over the next year, but as of yet there are no details to say whether the same will happen elsewhere.
There are no suggestions that the cars are in anyway unsafe to drivers, so owners can carry on motoring as usual. (According to the BBC this is important for us in the UK with diesel cars accounting for 50% of sales, and 16% of cars on the road are VW Group cars).
Your probably wondering if this scandal will affect the resale price of your car?
Dylan Setterfield, senior editor at CAP Black Book says ‘ we do not expect there to be any significant impact on used values in the UK as a direct result of the US emissions scandal.
In the short term there may be an impact on the value of these cars as their desirability, as there is no confirmation to where the other 10.5 million cars with these ‘cheat devices’ are, which led to obvious concerns there will be some in Europe.
The last global recall was the Toyota and Lexus issue, which had implications with safety, yet there was no noticeable impact on used values.
The conclusive view is that diesel vehicles are more cost-effective than their petrol equivalents – this is not always the case- diesel engine are generally popular with drivers.
Will compensation be possible?
It’s certainly too early, yet lawyers in the UK believe there is a chance. Jacqueline Young, Head of Group Litigation at law firm Slaters and Gorden says that ‘ If UK cars are found to contain defect devices, this would give rise to a claim by car owners and car dealership who brought VW vehicles on the basis of information and whose asset has now devalued.’
Will my road tax be affected?
The UK government has announced a testing programme on a range of diesel to check whether the emissions dupe is more extensive- This could develop into a test for other types of emissions, rather than just nitrogen oxide readings which were covered up in the US.
Should it be proved that tax has been underpaid owing to emissions readings being cheated, governments may seek to recoup that money from the car company involved.
Drivers may see changes to levels of tax levied in the future, although the rules are set to change anyway.
So will this happen again?
There are numerous questions as to whether this scandal will expose further emission testing failures and in turn, whether this affects prices.
The RAC Foundation says that new diesels are performing as they are expected to. In the future it is likely there will be more robust testing of car emissions across Europe, which is likely to be brought into place sooner to bolster confidence.
These proposed tests revel emissions of pollutants in real driving condition, rather than in a lab, which is expected to start in 2017.
The response drivers and investors get from VW from this crisis will be important.