E ines First of all: The Volkswagen group has earned every scolding for its exhaust gas fraud. In this respect, above all, the judgment of the BGH cannot be criticized. But the ruling from Karlsruhe changes almost nothing about the many negative consequences of the emissions scandal. Therefore, satisfaction about the punishment from Volkswagen, as which the judgment is celebrated in many places, is out of place in my opinion.
That starts with the subject of the negotiations. After all, it was about compensation for a VW customer. Basically a good thing. But what damage has the buyer of a cheat diesel suffered? VW had already been politically forced to make the cars legally compliant again. It didn't get any cleaner. But if the emissions legislation is so wrongly designed that legally compliant cars release too much NOx into the (city) air (see picture gallery), in my opinion this is at most partly the fault of the manufacturer.
A Buyback may be fair, but not sensible
The buyer hits especially when he is no longer allowed to drive his car everywhere due to driving bans. Or, as a result, the loss in value increases excessively, so that he may even lack the money to switch to a car that is not affected by driving bans. The judgment should clarify how VW has to compensate its customers for this. The decision: VW has to buy back the cars, the customer has to accept discounts for use depending on the kilometers driven. So far, so fair. But completely impractical and not very beneficial for the system as a whole, if you think it through to the end: What should VW do with the used cars? To sell? Then the lawful stinkers would be on their way. Scrap? A colossal environmental sin when you consider how much energy and CO2 emissions were required for production and would have to be used for scrapping.
However, it is likely that precisely the case described in the judgment will rarely occur. Most customers can probably still do something with their car and will probably compare themselves with the manufacturer, receive payments as compensation after a lot of individual negotiations. Exceptions are those who joined the class action. They also receive compensation, based on the class action, but also individually. So much negotiating effort - onePattern regulation with a formula would have saved an incredible amount of time, in which one could have developed many ideas.
The greatest damage is not caused by the customers
For example, how to reduce the damage there, where it is greatest: with city dwellers, the environment, society as a whole. But please not with technical retrofits for used diesel VWs. This is so technically complex that in the end it would be a zero-sum game for the environment. Only as a punishment for VW it would have been harder, i.e. more expensive than the BGH ruling, which is estimated to cost VW an additional billion.
A look at the USA, of all places, shows how it is more sensible VW alone will pay 23 billion in fines to the state - in other words to the general public. VW had to invest parts of the billions in the construction of charging infrastructure for electric cars that do not emit NOx and that VW wants to sell en masse soon.
First fines, then state dough?
The BGH -Judgment punishes the VW group from 2015. In the meantime, VW is building ultra-clean diesels that undercut the exhaust gas limit values that have finally been meticulously controlled. And VW has invested around 30 billion in electric mobility. The immoral behavior is in the past. Now the corona crisis is hitting the largest German car manufacturer, which is calling for government support, for public money. Should this really be used to get even more cars on the road in a country that already has 47 million cars?