SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - Consumer-rights firm Hagens Bergman and business litigators Quinn Emanuel asked a court Monday to order Volkswagen to offer owners of the company's CleanDiesel cars an immediate buyback.
The national lawsuit stems from Volkswagen's admission to regulators that it purposefully installed and use illegal defeat-device software in about 500,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. since 2008.
Software concealed vehicles' actual emissions, allowing the CleanDiesel cars to emit nitrogen oxides at levels 40 times higher than legal limits during regular use. The German automaker admitted that it used the software for at least the past six years.
Owners of the affected diesel vehicles paid $1,000 to $7,000 more for cars with diesel engines over the same models with standard gas engines, according to the firms' press release.
The preliminary injunction motion filed in Federal Court on Oct. 12 seeks the buyback remedy after Volkswagen said in congressional testimony that it could not begin the recall and repair process until 2016 - and that it would take at least a year to complete.
The proposed buyback sets offers at the Kelley Blue Book value of the cars as of Sept. 2.
Shon Morgan, the car owners' attorney with Quinn Emanuel, said in a telephone interview that Volkswagen's original recall plan is unfair to "a segment of environmentally conscious people who bought these cars" by "telling them they have to become the biggest polluters on the road."
"The situation screams out some need for an interim solution," he said.
Morgan said the owners want their cars off the road as soon as possible.
"They're disgusted, they're ashamed, they don't want to drive these cars down the street with their neighbors' kids playing in the yard," he said. "VW has not given them a way to get their cars off the road."
Morgan said the plaintiffs are not asking the automaker to buy the cars back "in the sense that they have to refund money and take a $7 million hit."
"If you have a true fix, you can resell them at nearly full value," he said. "The question is who should bear the burden during this year or two when you implement the fix."
Volkswagen did not respond to calls for comment on Tuesday morning.
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