Spanish court orders VW to pay compensation to buyer of polluting Audi

A Volkswagen logo is pictured at the newly opened Volkswagen factory in Wrzesnia near Poznan, Poland September 9, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish court on Wednesday for the first time ruled in favor of a buyer of a Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE car with altered emissions software, ordering two of the German firm's local units to pay a 5,000 euro ($5,457) fine to the car's owner.

The judge said the owner of an Audi Q5, bought in 2013, had wanted compensation and a new car after finding out last year when the VW diesel scandal erupted it had software which allowed it to cheat emissions tests.

Courts in Spain have ruled in favor of Volkswagen in five previous cases related to the emissions scandal, and Wednesday’s sentence could open the door to a wave of new consumer lawsuits.

Spanish consumer organization OCU called for other people with affected cars in Spain to join more than 5,500 others in filing a class-action lawsuit against VW.

The Spanish court in the city of Valladolid said the fine imposed on Valladolid Wagen and Volkswagen Audi Espana was equivalent to 10 percent of the car’s value. The companies will also have to repair the car, the court said.

VW admitted in September 2015 to installing secret software in its diesel cars to improve their test performance. Since then, the company has been hit with enormous fines worldwide, and on Tuesday a U.S. judge approved a $14.7 billion settlement between the carmaker and U.S. regulators.

A source at Volkswagen Audi Espana said the company would appeal the ruling.

Spain’s High Court said in October last year it had begun an investigation into VW cars in Spain.

Reporting by Maria Vega Paul; Writing by Angus Berwick; Editing by Sarah White and David Holmes