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VW dealers in Germany not obliged to take back diesel cars, court rules

[FRANKFURT] Volkswagen dealers in Germany are not obliged to take back cars equipped with the emissions-cheating software at the centre of the global scandal currently engulfing the auto giant, a German court ruled on Wednesdsay.

In the first ruling of its kind in Germany, a court in the northwestern city of Bochum threw out a lawsuit by an owner of a VW Tiguan demanding the dealer who sold it take it back.

The Tiguan is one of the VW models affected by a scam in which sophisticated software was installed into 11 million vehicles worldwide in order to skew emission results during testing.

The engine-rigging revelations have since sparked a scandal of global proportions and plunged VW into its deepest-ever crisis.

The Tiguan's owner had demanded that the dealer who sold the vehicle to him refund the purchase price and take it back, or deduct its value from the price for a replacement car.

Initially, the court ordered the two parties to try and find an amicable settlement.

But when they were unable to do so, the court was compelled to issue a ruling, finally finding in favour of the dealer.

The dealer did not fail in his duties, the court ruled.

"The accused simply sold the vehicle, but did not manufacture it. He was no more responsible for the fault than the plaintiff was," the ruling stated.

"He cannot made responsible for a fault committed by the carmaker." As the case was the first to be tried in VW's home country, it will be closely followed by car dealers elsewhere.

On top of still unquantifiable regulatory fines in a range of countries, VW is facing a slew of legal suits, notably in the US and Germany, from angry car owners, as well as from shareholders seeking damages for the massive loss in the value of their shares since September.

Earlier this week, a group of 278 institutional investors from Germany and abroad filed a suit against VW for more than 3.0 billion euros (US$3.3 billion) in damages over the affair.


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