Lawyers at Beasley Allen have joined with several law firms to file a new class action lawsuit against Volkswagen. The filing came after it was revealed that Volkswagen used an emissions cheat device in Audi vehicles equipped with 3.0-liter gasoline engines and a specific ZF model 8HP55 transmission. Subject vehicles include the A6, A8, Q5 and Q7. In October, the automaker settled similar claims affecting vehicles with 2.0-liter diesel engines, agreeing to pay out nearly $15 billion to affected vehicle owners. This is believed to be the largest automobile settlement in history. Claims related to the VW’s 3.0-liter diesel vehicles remain unresolved.
Audi did not limit its “cheat device” scheme to the diesel engine market, but some Audi gasoline engines contained a similar device. Just as with the devices found in diesel vehicles, it turned off the emission system under certain driving conditions, which in turn produced illegal levels of carbons that were released into the environment unbeknownst to the consumer. This new class action lawsuit recently filed addresses this problem and provides a remedy very much like the diesel engine class we filed previously.
This additional software, like the 2.0 diesel cheat software, monitors steering wheel input and holds the vehicle in “low power” mode until the steering wheel is turned. However, this cheat software is programmed into the vehicle’s transmission control module, whose job is to select shift points necessary to maintain vehicle speed over variable driving conditions. Specifically, when a subject vehicle is cranked, its transmission engages a “low CO2” program, shifting gears early to maintain artificially low engine revs and emissions. Once the driver inputs 15 degrees of turn into the steering wheel, the subject vehicle deactivates the program and shifts into its normal, more pollutant fashion that consumes more fuel, delivers more power and produces more CO2. Audi designed this software to fool emissions testing equipment and personnel.
According to the latest investigation into the issue, U.S. Environmental authorities in California reportedly discovered certain Audi gasoline and diesel models with the ZF 8HP55 AL 551 automatic transmission were equipped with a separate cheat software to fool emissions tests. The class action lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in the State of Minnesota on behalf of Plaintiffs in Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida, as well as owners nationwide.
Lawyers representing the Plaintiffs in this class include Beasley Allen lawyers Dee Miles, Clay Barnett and Archie Grubb; Adam Levitt with Grant & Eisenhofer; Bryan Bleichner of Chesnut Cambronne; Marc Dicello of Dicello Law; and Tom Young of Tom Young Law Office. For more information about this litigation, contact Dee Miles, who heads up our firm’s Consumer Fraud and Commercial Litigation Section, at Dee.Miles@beasleyallen.com, or lawyers in this section, Clay.Barnett@beasleyallen.com or Archie.Grubb@beaselyallen.com, or call us at 800-898-2034.