Owners of diesel-powered vehicles equipped with an unauthorized program known as “thermal window” can claim damages and interest from the manufacturers, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJUE) decided on Tuesday.
This decision could open a new judicial battle against the car manufacturers, who have not yet come out of the processes caused by the Dieselgate scandal.
The owner of a vehicle equipped with such a device benefits “of a right to repair by the automaker when the device caused damage to that buyer”, indicated the Court.
This device makes it possible to control the purification of exhaust gases from diesel vehicles depending on the outside temperature.
The nitrogen oxide (NOx) fume filtration system is reduced or deactivated when temperatures are very low or above a certain altitude.
Environmental organizations see in this a trap designed to make polluting emissions appear less than reality.
This case is different fromdiesel gate”, which broke out in September 2015 and destabilized the entire automotive sector, but it poses a similar problem.
In the souped-up scandal, Volkswagen admitted it retrofitted 11 million cars to show lower-than-real oxide emission levels.
Several constructors and equipment manufacturers have since been found in the crosshairs of justice in many countries.
The device of the “thermal windows” is also widely used by automotive manufacturers, although the decision of the CJUE, which is based in Luxembourg, could open the way to a “process wave” of car owners, said on Tuesday the German law firm Goldenstein, specialized in consumer law and which claims to represent 50,000 plaintiffs in the anti-pollution system issue.
In Germany, appeals relating to “thermal windows” were so far rejected by the highest jurisdiction, considering that it could not be an intentional damage by the builder, but negligence at most.
“Several million people in Europe can benefit from the decision” of justice, affirmed the law firm.
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