In September 2015, and again in November 2015, Volkswagen and Audi admitted using defeat device software to activate emissions controls when diesel cars were being smog tested and deactivate those controls during normal, on-road driving. Volkswagen, Audi AG’s parent company, took the position that the diesel defeat device was an isolated incident, which it dubiously blamed on “rogue engineers.”
According to the complaint, it was not an isolated incident, and the unlawful activity was not perpetrated by a few “rogue engineers” but by hundreds of personnel throughout the companies.
Moreover, Audi’s unlawful activity was not limited to its diesel vehicles. It has recently been reported that Audi has been hiding its use of a completely different defeat device on at least its 3.0-liter gasoline Q5, Q 7, A6 and A8 models equipped with automatic transmissions.
In those cars, Audi installed software which detects when the vehicle undergoes emissions and mileage testing and then programs the car to shift into each higher gear sooner, thus reducing engine RPM, fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions. But otherwise, during normal driving operation, the cars’ shift points are higher, resulting in more power and acceleration, but increased fuel consumption, lower MPG, and higher CO2 emissions.
Plaintiffs purchased Audi models. Audi represented in the “Monroney Stickers” on the vehicles Plaintiffs purchased the estimated fuel efficiency for the vehicles, and represented that Plaintiffs’ vehicles emitted a certain amount of carbon dioxide per mile. Upon information and belief, these representations were false. Unbeknownst to Plaintiffs, the vehicles purchased were surreptitiously equipped with a “defeat device” designed to limit emissions and increase fuel efficiency when the vehicle was being subjected to regulatory emissions and fuel efficiency testing, but not during regular use. As a result, the actual CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency of Plaintiffs’ vehicles are materially different from the representations set forth on the Monroney Stickers and in advertisements and marketing representations made by Audi to consumers.
Plaintiffs bring this proposed class action for damages on behalf of themselves and all other persons and entities nationwide who purchased or leased an Audi vehicle equipped with the defeat device, including but not limited to A6, A8, Q5 and Q7 models with 3.0 liter gasoline engines and automatic transmissions, and perhaps others (collectively, the “Affected Vehicles”).
Plaintiffs and members of the class all suffered damages as a result of Audi’s misrepresentations and omissions regarding the defeat device. Plaintiffs and class members overpaid to purchase vehicles incapable of providing the balance of performance, efficiency, and cleanliness that Audi represented these Affected Vehicles to offer. Plaintiffs and the class members have also suffered diminution of vehicle value now that the existence of the defeat devices has been revealed publicly. Accordingly, Plaintiffs and similarly situated owners and lessees of the Affected Vehicles are entitled to compensation for their losses, including losses related to increased fuel expenditures.