Dieselgate: record fine for Volkswagen Group Poland

The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has imposed a record fine of PLN 120.6 mln (EUR 28.55 mln) on Volkswagen Group Poland (VGP) for misleading customers over fuel emission levels, among other transgressions.

Record fine laid by Polish watchdog on Nord Stream 2 project participant

The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) decided that Swiss Engie Energy company will have the pay the fine of PLN 172 mln...

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This is the highest penalty imposed for a breach of consumer rights in the history of UOKiK. In November 2019, the Office fined Swiss company Swiss Engie Energy for a “lack of cooperation in the procedure conducted by the head of the Polish anti-monopoly office.” with a penalty of PLN 172 mln (EUR 40.3 mln). The company from Switzerland is one of the entities involved in the project of Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The Polish branch of Volkswagen was fined for installing software to control its EA 189 EU 5 engine in Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda cars produced since 2008.

“In test conditions it enabled a reduction in the emission value of nitrogen oxides. The software recognised that the car was in a testing station and reduced the emissions of nitrous oxides," UOKiK stated.

The office added that during normal driving the levels were higher and those levels significantly differed from those declared to customers in advertising materials and the car's certification documents.

The fine imposed by UOKiK is not final, VGP have the right to appeal.

The scandal, commonly referred to as “Dieselgate” was revealed in 2015, after the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act by Volkswagen. During the tests, cars met the required nitrogen oxide emissions level, but it turned out that they were actually emitting 40 times more.

It is estimated that manipulative software was installed in more than eleven million cars all over the world.

The producer had to replace the cars at its own cost or refund drivers and additionally pay significant fines in many countries. The US branch of Volkswagen for example was fined USD 2.8 bn.