German court rules Volkswagen must reimburse owner full price of car

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German court has ruled Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE must reimburse the owner of a Golf the full original price of his vehicle bought in 2012, dealing a blow to the carmaker as the legal battles over its emissions cheating scandal drag on.

Volkswagen (VW) said it believed the court in Augsburg had misapplied the law and that it would appeal the ruling at the higher regional court.

The Augsburg civil court ruled on Nov. 14th that VW had acted immorally by deliberately installing emissions-cheating software to increase sales and profits, a spokesman for the court said on Friday.

The court ordered VW to repay the owner the original price of almost 30,000 euros ($34,200), according to a copy of the ruling.

“In our opinion, there is no legal basis for customer complaints. Customers have suffered neither losses nor damages. The vehicles are safe and roadworthy,” VW said in a statement.

It added that around 9,000 judgements had been issued in connection with its diesel emissions scandal, which came to light in 2015, and the majority of customer complaints had been unsuccessful at district and higher courts.

“The decision of the district court in Augsburg thereby stands in contradiction to multiple decisions of other courts in comparable cases,” VW said.

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Its shares were little changed at 151.88 euros at 0844 GMT.

VW has said about 11 million diesel cars worldwide were fitted with software that could cheat emissions tests designed to limit noxious car fumes.

The German carmaker has agreed to pay billions of dollars in the United States to settle claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers. It offered to buy back 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles.

The company has not reached a similar deal in Europe, where it faces billions of euros in claims from investors and customers in the worst business crisis in its history.

Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Mark Potter