In the latest fallout from the Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen is facing down a German lawsuit for $11bn over the company's use of software to thwart emissions performance tests.
A group of investors in VW has argued that the car maker ought to have told them earlier about the scandal, in which its cars' engine control units were programmed to detect when they were on test rigs and adjust the engine's performance to score highly on emissions tests.
Around 1,670 claims have been lodged by shareholders against VW, according to a preview of the trial's first day by Reuters. Judge Christian Jaede, sitting at the Braunschweig higher regional court, will preside over the trial.
According to case papers seen by the newswire, the scandal only became public after the American Environmental Protection Agency issued a public notice of violation in September 2015. The shareholders are said to be arguing that had they known about the brewing scandal before then, they could have sold their shares early on or not bought them, avoiding losses.
While VW has admitted culpability for the scandal, with a software developer and an exec at its US arm both having been jailed for their respective parts in it, the company denies it broke any financial regulatory disclosure rules.
"This lawsuit is solely and exclusively about whether Volkswagen complied with its disclosure obligations toward shareholders and the capital markets," the car maker said in a statement. ®