By Kirstin Ridley
LONDON (Reuters) -Volkswagen will pay 193 million pounds ($242 million) as part of an out-of-court settlement to around 91,000 British drivers over a diesel emissions scandal that engulfed Europe’s largest carmaker in 2015.
Volkswagen (VW) on Wednesday again apologised to customers in England and Wales as it pledged to rebuild trust.
“The settlement is another important milestone as the Volkswagen Group continues to move beyond the deeply regrettable events leading up to September 2015,” Philip Haarmann, the chief legal officer at VW, said in a statement.
But the company, which is also contributing towards claimants’ legal costs and other fees, made no admissions in respect of liability, causation or loss, saying the costs of London trials and appeals made it prudent to seek a settlement.
Volkswagen has said about 11 million cars worldwide – and 1.2 million in Britain – were fitted with software that cheated diesel emissions tests designed to limit nitrogen oxide (NOx) car fumes.
The so-called “dieselgate” scandal sparked the biggest business crisis in the company’s history, costing the German company more than 32 billion euros ($34 billion) in vehicle refits, fines and legal costs so far.
Law firms representing drivers in England and Wales, led by Slater and Gordon as well as Leigh Day, alleged VW deceived people into buying cars that breached emissions regulations by installing so-called “defeat devices”.
“This settlement avoids the need for a lengthy, complex and expensive trial process …,” said Slater and Gordon’s CEO David Whitmore, whose group was funded by litigation funder Therium.
Therium began funding the lawsuit in September 2016.
($1 = 0.7984 pounds)
($1 = 0.9369 euros)
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(Reporting by Kirstin RidleyEditing by Peter Graff and Lisa Shumaker)