Volkswagen is to recall up to 11m cars as the company contacts UK owners and Canadian lawyers announce a proposed class action lawsuit.
The German carmaker is to refit diesel cars with the illegal emissions software in a move that could cost more than $6.5bn (£4.3bn).
Around 11m vehicles were fitted with software capable of cheating emissions tests, including 5m Volkswagens, 2.1m Audis, 1.2m Skodas and 1.8m light commercial vehicles.
According to Reuters, the new chief executive Matthias Mueller told a closed meeting of VW managers: "We are facing a long trudge and a lot of hard work. We will only be able to make progress in steps and there will be setbacks."
This morning, the transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said VW was contacting all affected UK customers. In a statement, he said: "The government’s priority is to protect the public and I understand VW are contacting all UK customers affected. I have made clear to the managing director this needs to happen as soon as possible.The government expects VW to set out quickly next steps it will take to correct the problem and support owners of these vehicles already purchased in the UK."
Meanwhile, Toronto law firm Roy O’Connor has started a proposed class action lawsuit action against Volkswagen and a number of its subsidiaries in Canada relating to the manipulation of emissions data.
The proposed class action seeks damages in excess of $2.5bn, alleging that Volkswagen and its subsidiaries incorporated a prohibited "software defeat device" into a number of diesel powered vehicles and concealed that fact from government regulators and proposed Class Members.
The proposed class action is brought on behalf of any person in Canada who purchased any of the following vehicles equipped with a four cylinder turbo diesel engine as well as anyone who leased any of the following vehicles:
1. VW Jetta -- model years 2009-15
2. VW Golf --model years 2010-15
3. VW Beetle --model years 2013-15
4. VW Passat --model years 2012-15
5. VW Golf Wagon/Sportwagon -- model years 2009-15
6. Audi A3 - model years from 2009 - 2015
The claim refers to a variety of potential damages for class members including: improperly inflated purchase prices or lease payments; decreased resale values or residual lease values; and increased fuel costs coupled with decreases in performance and driving experience.
According to Roy O'Connor partner David O'Connor: "The acknowledged manipulation of emissions by Volkswagen over many years is dramatic and truly shocking. These issues and how they occurred, and how they were not disclosed earlier should be fully investigated and pursued. This is the type of case that class actions in Canada were designed to address and the type of case that motivates my firm. The outcry in Canada from those who purchased the vehicles and from those who leased the vehicles - who believed that they were getting clean diesel with mileage and performance benefits - is consistent and loud."