Manufacturing and Design Defects: Volkswagen’s Faulty Emissions

Skilled Baltimore defective products litigators discuss your options if you purchased a VW under fraudulent conditions

In October of 2015, Volkswagen AG admitted that the software installed in many of its cars was designed to trick emissions systems. The admission came, according to the New York Times, after the Environmental Protection Agency reported the issue back in September. To date, more than 11 million “cars and light commercial vehicles worldwide equipped with a diesel engine line known as the EA 189” have been subject to a recall over the illegal software, which has the potential to cost Volkswagen billions of dollars to fix. Drivers who purchased the diesel vehicles are now faced with increased costs for driving a car or truck they were told would actually cost less money to own.

This deception by VW does more than leave a bad taste in the mouths of owners; it opens them to defective auto part litigation by consumers across the country. Here in Baltimore, the products liability lawyers of Plaxen & Adler, P.A. understand what a monumental problem this recall has caused, and what kinds of issues owners might face in the future. For the last 30 years, our team has fought for justice on behalf of those who were injured or deceived by large companies who prioritized their profits instead of the safety and wellness of people. If you purchased a VW with illegal emissions software, we want to hear your story.

How the deception took place

Cars are required to pass emissions tests in compliance with federal laws. What Volkswagen did was install software “designed to trick pollution-testing devices by detecting when a vehicle was undergoing emission checks and turning on pollution controls. When not undergoing testing, the cars’ emission controls would be switched off.” During regular driving conditions, the vehicles could “produce up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides,” according to Wired. Nitrogen oxide is a dangerous substance linked to respiratory conditions like asthma. This is especially worrisome for city drivers, like those of us in Baltimore who own affected vehicles, because of the stop-and-go conditions that city driving requires. Simply idling the car while waiting at a red light can contribute even more noxious emissions than driving on the highway or through rural roads in and around Maryland.

Volkswagen confessed that this software was installed knowingly and purposely. It was not the result of a design flaw or a glitch; it was purposely designed to deceive.

Which cars were affected?

According to Consumer Reports, the complete list of affected VW models includes:

  • Audi A3 (2010-2015)
  • Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A8/A8L (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q5 (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q7 (2013-2015)
  • Porsche Cayenne (2014-2016)
  • Volkswagen Beetle, Beetle Convertible (2012-2015)
  • Volkswagen Golf (2010-2015)
  • Volkswagen Golf SportWagen (2015)
  • Volkswagen Jetta, Jetta SportWagen (2009-2015)
  • Volkswagen Passat (2012-2015)
  • Volkswagen Touareg (2013-2016)

What are my options if I own one of these cars?

As of right now, there are only two options for Volkswagen owners affected by the emissions recall.

  1. Run the car in test mode. This will ensure that emissions are kept in check, but will likely affect the car or truck’s performance and fuel economy.
  2. Install a urea tank. The urea will clean the emissions, but the tank can cost between $5000 and $8000 to install, and will require owners to lose valuable cargo space in their trucks, because the tank is not small.

Choosing not to comply with either repairs put owners at risk of violating federal safety guidelines when it comes to emissions.

What VW faces next

The backlash against Volkswagen has been swift and demanding: owners are up in arms – and rightfully so – about being deceived. It is possible that charges may be levied against the manufacturer, either in a class-action lawsuit or by individual parties, for deceptive trade practices. It could be years before owners see justice.

At Plaxen & Adler, P.A., we find this entire scenario reprehensible. Our Baltimore auto products liability attorneys have spent the last three decades pursuing justice on behalf of people who have been wronged by manufacturers. If you purchased a Volkswagen diesel car or truck and are now subject to a recall, you may have more legal options than you think. You can trust our legal team in Baltimore to be by your side.

Fighting for what is right for Baltimore Volkswagen owners

Plaxen & Adler, P.A. offers comprehensive legal services to victims of injustice in Columbia, Baltimore and throughout Maryland. We demand accountability from large companies that think only of themselves, and not the people they serve. To speak with an experienced Baltimore products liability lawyer, please call 410-730-7737 or fill out our contact form, to learn more about how we can help.