Lawsuits filed in wake of Volkswagen emissions scandal

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The ABC7 I-Team is looking into the apology offered by Volkswagen officials after admitting that the software on some vehicles was rigged to cheat on emission tests.

Lawsuits are being filed across the country, including right here in Chicago.

The world's top selling car maker is in the hot seat. Almost 500,000 vehicles in the u-s, potentially affected.

Customers who purchased the so called "greener" diesel models say they feel betrayed.

Peter Haralovich purchased a Jetta TDI five years ago. He bought it for fuel efficiency and clean diesel. He's passionate about the environment

"When you consider all of the miles I put on the car all the time thinking I was driving one of the most environmentally advanced vehicles that was available at the time," Haralovich says. "I am very disappointed, I am angry."

Haralovich, who has a residence in Chicago, talked with the I-Team on Skype, from Bloomington, Ind.

He's part of a new Chicago class action lawsuit, one of several now filed against Volkswagen, accused of rigging software to fake emission tests on diesel cars.

"There are nearly 500,000 vehicles that are subject to this issue of manipulating the results of environmental testing and the impact of these allegations, if proven to be true by the government, are enormous for the consuming public," says Robert Clifford, an attorney.

Clifford says a lot depends on how or if Volkswagen compensates vehicle owners, who could face dramatic depreciation and failed emission tests in certain states that would make some cars illegal to drive.

The head of Volkswagen issued a video statement Tuesday promising an internal investigation along with a pledge to cooperate with us investigators. He said he was sorry for breaking the trust of millions of people around the world and vowed to be transparent.

The EPA said that the rigged software switched engines to a cleaner mode during the tests and cars could have really been releasing pollutants that were about 40 times more than the legal limit, critics say, ripping off consumers who didn't get what they paid for and hurting the environment.
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