An Australian law firm is chasing $900m in compensation from VW

Picture: Getty Images.

Victorian law firm Maurice Blackburn has announced it wants 90,000 Australians affected by the VW emissions scandal to join its class action against the car manufacturer.

The global car-making giant was caught by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September for violating the Clean Air Act by installing software on vehicles that could identify when they were being tested and reduce harmful exhaust so it looked like the cars met requirements.

Volkswagen’s share price tumbled from $167.50 on September 18 to $101.15 within two weeks. They still haven’t recovered, today trading at $120.

As the scale of the cheating was revealed, Credit Suisse estimated the scandal could end up costing VW as much as $115 billion, including the cost of removing the “cheat device” chips from hundreds of thousands of cars.

But a note from Maurice Blackburn says the effect on owners of VW, Audi and Skoda vehicles fitted with the chips goes well beyond the price of simply removing them.

While removing these devices is necessary, the removal will impact on the vehicle’s future engine performance, efficiency, service intervals and resale value, and Volkswagen to date have failed to provide any advice to consumers on how they will manage these impacts.

The law firm says it will seek $10,000 compensation for each owner, and has already had “hundreds” of people register their interest.

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