High Court threat for Volkswagen after BBC Panorama programme shows car failing EU emissions test 'spectacularly', according to the BBC

The lawyer representing over 8,000 potential UK claims against Volkswagen has said she is ‘stunned’ after one of the German manufacturers’ cars appeared to fail European testing limits ‘spectacularly’.

In tonight’s BBC Panorama programme, a VW Passat Blue Motion is seen being tested in an accredited testing laboratory in the Czech Republic.

According to the BBC website the car was programmed with the defeat device and after running the standard Euro 5 emissions test, the same test the car would have had before it went on sale, it passed by emitting just 167 mg/km of poisonous NOx gases.

The Euro 5 limit is 180 mg/km.

The BBC team then attempted to trick the onboard computer into thinking it was out of the lab. According to reports they accelerated it hard, above 70mph and then they ran the Euro 5 test again.

According to the BBC, the same car failed, “spectacularly”. Emitting 435 mg/km of NOx 255 mg/km above the legal limit.

The BBC claims this proves that Volkswagen diesel cars programmed with a "defeat device" can cheat official European pollution tests, as well as tests in the US.

Bozena Michalowska-Howells from the Consumer Law and Product Safety group at Leigh Day said:

“I am stunned by these results and will watch tonight’s programme with great interest as it appears that Volkswagen cars would not have passed the EU emissions tests and obtained type approval without the use of the defect device”.

“This follows news that despite VW using the device to cheat emissions tests in the EU, VW are refusing to pay any compensation to customers in the EU. Unless VW are prepared to negotiate a settlement scheme in the UK, proceedings will be issued in the High Court.”

Mark Lythgoe a potential client of law firm Leigh Day, who appears in tonight’s programme, said:

"We bought our Volkswagen Passat for fuel efficiency and also the promise that we were within the legal limits.

"Now we don’t know what to think, we are obviously angry as we believe we have been sold one thing after being promised another, and we haven’t a clue what is now going to happen to the car, what the fix will be and how it will affect the car’s performance."