Belfast Telegraph

Volkswagen drivers warned scandal could mean a jump in road tax

By Rachel Martin

A Belfast solicitor has warned Northern Ireland Volkswagen customers that the recent emissions scandal could leave them picking up the bill for higher road tax premiums.

Jennifer Young has claimed that the scandal could have a direct impact on Northern Ireland drivers, if the affected vehicles breach emissions rules once the devices are removed.

An investigation found that several models of diesel vehicles produced by Volkswagen Group had been fitted with devices designed to cheat US emissions tests.

Volkswagen Group has confirmed that almost 1.2m cars and vans in the UK have been affected by the scandal, with owners left worried that the value of their cars could be slashed.

Shares in the motoring giant have plunged by over 40% since it first emerged that the vehicles were under investigation.

Volkswagen Group UK has said that "technical solutions" are being developed and promised to present its findings to the responsible authorities before the end of the month.

The company said that the cars were "technically safe and roadworthy" but added that modifications would be made to the vehicles affected.

Ms Young pointed out that should the vehicles produce higher emissions once they are rectified, this could result in drivers having to pay higher road tax and other associated costs, which would result in a direct loss to Volkswagen owners.

She said: "In addition, it remains to be seen whether the performance and fuel efficiency of the vehicles will be affected, not to mention a potential loss in resale value.

"We have had direct contact from one worried Volkswagen Golf owner who is charged for parking at work and is concerned that her parking charges, which are linked to her vehicle emissions, will rise if her car is affected."

She added: "Anyone who specifically purchased their vehicle with low emissions in mind and who may have paid extra in the belief that they were purchasing a 'greener' vehicle, is likely to have been the victim of a misrepresentation and therefore be entitled to be compensated in this regard.

"What is clear is that many Northern Irish drivers are likely to be affected by this scandal in a number of ways and they are keen to know more as soon as possible." The company has admitted that the affected vehicles include 508,276 Volkswagens, 393,450 Audis, 76,773 Seats, 131,569 Skodas and 79,838 Volkswagen commercial vehicles.

A statement from Volkswagen Group UK read: "Volkswagen Group UK announces action plan to modify diesel vehicles with EA 189 EU5 engines.

"New vehicles with EU6 engines currently available [are] not affected. All petrol models, as well as V6 TDI and V8 TDI models [are] unaffected."

So far this year, 2,540 new Volkswagen Golf and Polo cars were registered in Northern Ireland. Three major Volkswagen dealers in Northern Ireland were contacted. However, representatives from all three were unavailable for comment. Yesterday, Volkswagen took 4,000 cars off the UK market.

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.