A proposed class action alleges Porsche has “persisted in concealing its emission testing-deception” for its high-end 911 and Panamera vehicles in the wake of parent Volkswagen Group’s 2015 diesel emissions scandal.
The 36-page lawsuit says reporting in August 2020 from German newspaper Bild am Sonntag revealed the existence of another “defeat device,” the mechanism used by VW to fool carbon dioxide emissions testing, embedded in “numerous” Porsche vehicles. According to the case, the automaker has deliberately modified the transmissions of test vehicles with the defeat devices so the cars emitted fewer pollutants during testing than the actual models sold to consumers.
In the wake of the Bild am Sonntag report, additional details emerged from a whistleblower who reportedly described what the lawsuit calls “suspected irregularities” in the transmissions installed in the vehicles used for emissions testing, according to the suit. Earlier this month, the public prosecutor for Germany’s Stuttgart region, where Porsche AG is headquartered, commenced an investigation into four allegations of emissions test tampering, which preceded the automaker’s revelation that emissions cheating came to light through an internal inquiry launched after the diesel emissions scandals at Volkswagen and Audi, the lawsuit says.
The plaintiffs, California and New Jersey Porsche drivers, allege the VW subsidiary has falsely represented to drivers and federal and California regulators “for over a decade” that its emissions-testing practices were on the up and up.
“While cheating emissions testing, Porsche held itself out to consumers in marketing and publications as a responsible corporation that valued the environment and complied with the law,” the complaint reads, alleging the automaker lied in claiming its vehicles complied with federal and state emissions requirements.
“Porsche represented to consumers and regulators that these vehicles offered excellent performance in combination with legal, clean emissions; in truth, those characteristics were mutually exclusive,” the suit charges.
During emissions testing, affected Porsche models “sacrificed performance” as a means to artificially tamp down emissions, the case claims. In reality, the lawsuit alleges, the cars as they’re actually manufactured, distributed and sold to consumers, drive as advertised yet emit higher levels of pollutants than the levels at which the cars were certified.
In all, Porsche utilized defeat devices to make it appear as though affected Panamera and 911 models complied with emissions standards, the suit avers.
Consumers overpaid for affected Porsche models—specifically 2010-2016 model year Panamera and 2009-2016 model year 911 vehicles with either manual or PDK transmissions—in that the features of the as-sold vehicles were less valuable than those of the as-marketed vehicles, the lawsuit claims. At present, the value of Porsche drivers’ vehicles is lower than it would be had the cars been delivered in as-marketed condition, rather than their as-sold conditions with inaccurate emissions numbers, according to the complaint.
“The overpayment at the time of purchase and lower current value of the Class Vehicles are directly attributable to Porsche’s actions, which created material differences in features between the vehicles as-marketed and as-sold,” the suit contends.
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