Sensational verdict in the diesel scandal: VW customer wins against VW dealership and receives new car of the next generation despite implemented software update

21. March 2018

The sensation at the Hamburg Regional Court: For the first time in Germany, a judge has ordered a VW car dealer to take back a diesel engine with cheating software, even though an update had already been carried out – and to replace it with the successor model (ref. 329 O 105/17).

In the case at hand, the customer from Geesthacht had purchased a first-generation VW Tiguan (Sport & Style 4 Motion BM Techn. 2.0 L TDI equipment) from Volkswagen Automobile GmbH in Hamburg on April 2, 2015.

After the diesel cheating at VW came to light, he even had the car retrofitted out of concern that it would be decommissioned, but then approached his attorneys to have his car returned. The dealer refused to exchange the car. The customer sued.The regional court found that the delivered vehicle had a material defect at the time of transfer of risk and did not meet the promise of performance. In addition, there was also a defect of title, because the emission behavior of the engine was a characteristic that was crucial for the owed quality.

Here is what was peculiar in this case: The customer had already had the update carried out – and was still allowed to return the car. In the meantime, there was also a model change: The Tiguan is no longer built in the form that the customer had purchased. That doesn’t matter, the court ruled. It was not deemed impossible to make a subsequent delivery despite the model change from the Tiguan I to the Tiguan II within the meaning of § 275 (1) of the German Civil Code (BGB).

Especially the new delivery of a defect-free vehicle is also not unreasonable. On the contrary, the rectification of defects by means of the software update is unreasonable.

The Regional Court of Hamburg states that there is a plausible suspicion that the software update offered is not a sufficient remedy. Especially, permanent exhaust gas recirculation is likely to be accompanied by significantly increased wear of the affected engine parts. This fear, which we can confirm in view of a large number of similar feedbacks from our clients, leads, in the opinion of the Hamburg Regional Court, to a significant reduction in the value of the vehicle that remains for an unforeseeable period of time.

In addition, a customer would not have to pay compensation for the use of his used car, but would receive a brand-new car at no additional cost.

The ruling thus fully confirms our legal opinion and is a further step in a series of customer-friendly rulings. In particular, a regional court has thus taken a clear position that the vehicles affected by the diesel scandal are defective in the legal sense, despite the software update that has been carried out.

Very good opportunities for concerned VW drivers

In our opinion, the chances of asserting your claims are more than good. After the courts had initially struggled to rule out intentional immoral damage by Volkswagen, more and more regional courts are now following our legal opinion.


Buyers of concerned vehicles should take action now and think about a challenge or a possible rescission before a rectification of defects. Our attorneys will be happy to provide a free initial assessment. With legal protection insurance behind them, even potential plaintiffs bear no cost risk at all!

Contact us if you, as a vehicle buyer, are also affected by the VW emissions scandal!

We will be happy to check the chances of success in enforcing your claims in a free initial consultation – do not hesitate to call us or make use of our free call-back service.