Class-action status sought for suits filed against carmakers

Obviously, vehicle manufacturers want to be preoccupied with happy thoughts linked to massive product sales across the country.

For a consortium of German automakers, preoccupation is definitely on the agenda, but what it relates to coast to coast is decidedly on something other than a salutary bottom line and millions of ecstatic American consumers.

Top-tier principals with BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Daimler and Mercedes-Benz are instead focused on … class-action lawsuits.

And formidable ones at that.

Litigation filed in federal courts in New Jersey and California, respectively, late last month undoubtedly has the boards of the above-cited companies collectively on edge, notwithstanding the comment of one Daimler representative that claims against the carmakers “lack merit.”

Many people disagree vehemently with that assessment regarding a probe that was already ongoing and has now expanded in a most volatile way. A recent Bloomberg article on the class-action litigation against the German car companies notes that its central contentions “widen the scope of the latest scandal to hit the nation’s auto industry.”

Many of our readers in Connecticut and elsewhere likely remember well the adverse fallout that rocked — and continues to plague — Volkswagen following public knowledge of its long-tenured and purposeful actions to circumvent U.S. emissions standards through use of software that misrepresented pollution-linked data. As Bloomberg notes, Volkswagen has paid a staggering price for that, with penalties costing the company “more than $24.5 billion in U.S. civil and criminal penalties and other costs.”

We will delve into the material details of the recently filed class-action suits in our next blog post.