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Volkswagen to resume talks over German class action on emissions

BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE> and the German consumer protection organisation have agreed to resume talks aimed at reaching a deal in a class action lawsuit over the carmaker’s rigging of diesel emissions tests.

VW admitted using illegal software to cheat U.S. diesel engine tests in 2015, a scandal which has cost it more than $30 billion in vehicle refits, fines and provisions.

Nearly all U.S. owners of affected cars agreed to take part in a $25 billion settlement in 2016 in the United States, but VW has said there was no legal basis for consumers in Germany to seek compensation due to differences in law.

A court in the town of Brunswick, which has urged Volkswagen to settle the lawsuit, said on Thursday the parties to the case had agreed on the advice of the court to resume discussions to try to reach a settlement.

State-financed consumer protection organisation Vzbv said it had accepted the court invitation and said talks should take place soon. A Volkswagen spokesman confirmed the new talks, but declined to comment further.

Vzbv said it had not changed its demand that any settlement must be fair, transparent and verifiable.

Vzbv has said it aimed to show that owners of VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat cars with so-called type EA 189 diesel engines have been intentionally harmed by VW’s use of software that was used to cheat emissions tests.

The German class action was made possible after the cabinet approved a draft law in 2018 allowing consumer protection organisations to litigate on behalf of consumers, avoiding the high legal costs that might put people off legal action.

When the diesel scandal broke, 2.4 million cars with defeat devices were on German roads. In the meantime, most have received a software update.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson and Illona Wissenbach; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Edmund Blair)