Volkswagen’s troubles are far from over. Just days after the company’s chairman, Hans Dieter Poetsch, admitted that engineers began working as early as 2005 on emissions cheating software, the German carmaker was faced with legal action in India and China.
On Tuesday, China Daily reported that an environmental group -- the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation -- has filed a public interest lawsuit at a court in the eastern port city of Tianjin. According to the state-run media, this is the first public interest lawsuit in the country over the scandal that is believed to have affected up to 11 million vehicles globally.
“Such behavior has violated the law on product quality, environmental protection and tort liability. So we filed the case,” Wang Wenyong, a lawyer for the group, was quoted as saying.
The scandal, first discovered in September, involved the sale of vehicles fitted with a so-called “defeat device” that allowed the company to cheat on U.S. diesel emissions tests. While the company has so far admitted to have cheated only on the U.S. tests, the scandal has also hurt its cars sales in the European and Asian markets.
In China, the impact has been limited, and only 2,000 vehicles are believed to have been affected. In October, Volkswagen offered its “sincerest apologies” to its Chinese customers, and announced a recall of 1,950 cars -- a small fraction of all Volkswagen vehicles imported by the country. The company is believed to have made 3.2 million vehicle deliveries in China in the first 11 months of 2015.
Meanwhile, in India, where the carmaker’s sales recently fell after seven months of growth, the National Green Tribunal -- a dedicated environmental court -- sought response from Volkswagen Monday following a plea seeking a ban on its vehicles in the country.
According to local media reports, the plea was filed by residents of the Indian capital New Delhi -- a city that currently holds the notorious distinction of being the most polluted in the world -- who allege that the company was “polluting the environment in blatant disregard to regulations (sic).”
Earlier this month, Volkswagen announced that it would recall over 300,000 vehicles in India after a government probe found “significant variations” in emission levels from its diesel cars in the country.