Volkswagen, Audi and importers that illegally manipulated emissions to cause so-called "dieselgate" have been ordered to compensate consumers for the mental damage they suffered.
The Seoul Central District Court ruled in a lawsuit filed by 2,501 Volkswagen and Audi owners against Volkswagen Group, Audi Volkswagen Korea, and their vendors that they must jointly pay the plaintiffs 1 million won per vehicle. A total of 2,480 plaintiffs were cited for some of the damages on the same day.
Volkswagen and Audi have installed software that manipulates the operation of emission reduction systems to pass the Euro 5 standard in order to avoid strict air environment regulations, according to a survey. In November 2015, the government ordered 125,515 vehicles of 15 models to be banned on sale, fined and recalled.
Consumers later filed a lawsuit to nullify the deal itself and return the payment, saying that the companies advertised that the vehicles protected the environment with less emissions and the fuel efficiency was twice as good as gasoline-powered vehicles, forcing consumers who believed in it to buy the vehicles at a higher price than the same price.
The court acknowledged their responsibility for the psychological damages, saying consumers would have been traumatized and hurt by the issue.
"In the process of choosing a car that pays high prices, consumers will have a pretty strong sense of satisfaction," the court said. "With this issue, consumers have not been satisfied for a long time and will have an uncomfortable state of mind because they cannot erase the perception that it is an environmentally contaminated car from their surroundings." However, it did not acknowledge their responsibility for compensation for property damage.