The European Union's highest court has broadened the definition of illegal emissions-cheating technology on Thursday, laying the groundwork for future lawsuits against Volkswagen Group.
Defeat devices were previously only considered illegal if they manipulated emissions tests after the emissions were produced.
The ruling now includes 'upstream' technology used in order to subvert government emissions tests – even if the claimed intention was to improve engine longevity.
The inclusion of 'upstream' technology potentially exposes Volkswagen Group to further lawsuits.
In September 2020, eight more Volkswagen employees were charged by German prosecutors for their alleged roles in the 'Dieselgate' saga.
It's estimated Volkswagen Group has paid out approximately $46.5 billion in fines, compensation, and vehicle buybacks since its diesel models were found to be cheating emissions tests in 2015.
Many diesel vehicles from Volkswagen, Audi and other manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz were found to meet the government-mandated emissions regulations under test conditions, but far exceeded limits when being driven in normal circumstances.