Switzerland’s highest court has dismissed a legal complaint by a consumer group against Amag, an importer of German Volkswagen diesel cars into Switzerland, linked to the emissions-rigging scandal.
The Federal Court rejected an appeal by the SKS consumer groupexternal link, stating that it had no case against VW and Amag; SKS claimed that they had misled car buyers and violated Swiss law.
The Federal Court followed a Zurich court ruling last August, which found that the diesel scandal had been known for a while and that no legal deception had taken place.
In Switzerland, the disputed EA189 diesel engine had been fitted on models of the VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda brands sold in the country between 2008 and 2015. Software had been used to reduce emissions during emission controls. But the engine has not been marketed in Switzerland since 2015.
SKS strongly criticised the judges' decision: "For purely formal reasons, the courts have not examined whether the manipulation of VW and Amag to circumvent emission standards was contrary to the law on unfair competition.”
However, the ruling does not affect a separate claim for damages filed by the consumer group on behalf of about 6,000 Volkswagen diesel cars owners in Switzerland, SKS said.
The consumer group for French-speaking Switzerland (FRC) has chosen a different path. It has joined a collective complaint in Germany by the European Consumer Organisation involving tens of thousands of customers.
The Volkswagen emissions scandal began in September 2015, when the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States accused the Volkswagen group of violation of environmental laws.
Since 2015, the German car-making group has paid more than €27 billion (CHF30.6 billion) to settle investor and consumer lawsuits as well as regulatory fines and remedies tied to resolving excessive emissions levels in its diesel cars.