On 18 September 2015 the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a Notice of Violation of the Federal Clean Air Act on the basis that Volkswagen had cheated the United States emissions testing regime. As the United States regulators uncovered, certain Volkswagen vehicles were designed to only meet emissions requirements during official laboratory testing, and used “cheating software” to do it. When driven on the road, the cars emit excessive, harmful pollutants known as Nitrogen Oxides, or NOx.
This “cheating” scheme was not limited to vehicles in the United States. Kraftfahrt-Bundesambt (the “KBA”), the German vehicle type approval authority, announced on 25 September 2015 that Volkswagen AG had also installed cheating software in Europe in vehicle models with the EA189 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0 liter diesel engines.
Ultimately, the Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets (the “ACM”) concluded that Volkswagen AG was guilty of unfair commercial practices for selling and leasing these vehicles to consumers as environmentally-friendly and green, when really, they emitted excessive levels of harmful pollutants. The ACM imposed a fine of EUR 450,000 (the maximum penalty) on Volkswagen AG for misleading consumers in this way.
What We Do
The goal of our Foundation is to protect the interests of consumers—domiciled either in the Netherlands or abroad (not including the United States)—who suffered harm or damage when they purchased or leased vehicles including model year 2009-2015 Volkswagen, Audi, SKODA, and SEAT vehicles equipped with EA189 diesel engines which included emissions cheating software. These persons whose interests the Foundation protects are referred to as the Aggrieved Parties, defined in the Articles of Association available on this website.
The Foundation will achieve its objectives by, among other things: investigating and staying abreast of threatened and pending proceedings regardless of jurisdiction brought against one or more of the Volkswagen entities; initiating legal proceedings; conducting negotiations with one or more of the Volkswagen Group Entities (as defined in the Articles of Association available on this website), or its representatives and its direct and indirect directors or policymakers, as well as entering into any Settlement Agreement, whether or not accompanied by the submission of a request for these to be declared binding pursuant to the Dutch Act on the Collective Settlement of Mass Claims (WCAM); collecting claims, under a mandate, power of attorney and/or management of another’s affairs of Aggrieved Parties.
You can find more information about the Foundation’s purpose and mission in the Foundation’s articles of association, available here.