Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Lawsuits Against Volkswagen Group Over Felicity Ace Fire Continue, Alleging Porsche EV as Cause

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Two years have passed since the tragic sinking of the Felicity Ace cargo ship in the Atlantic Ocean, a catastrophe marked by a massive fire that engulfed the vessel and led to the loss of more than 3,900 vehicles. Now, the Volkswagen Group finds itself embroiled in legal battles as two lawsuits claim that a Porsche electric vehicle onboard triggered the fire.

One of the lawsuits, filed in Stuttgart, involves multiple plaintiffs, including ship operator Mitsui OSK Lines and insurer Allianz, who have accused VW of negligence in failing to disclose the risks associated with transporting electric vehicles. The case, initiated over a year ago, was temporarily halted for mediation talks, while the second lawsuit is currently under review in the German city of Brunswick.

According to Auto News, if no settlement is reached, the lawsuits will resume. While the VW Group has acknowledged the existence of the lawsuits, it has refrained from commenting further.

The lawsuits allege that the fire was caused by the lithium-ion battery of an unspecified Porsche model, likely a Taycan, and that VW had not adequately warned them of the dangers or provided necessary safety precautions. However, the judges have not yet assessed the merits of the lawsuits, as the parties have yet to agree on the amount of collateral required.

The estimated cost of the fire to the VW Group is approximately $155 million. Fortunately, most customers whose vehicles were lost in the incident had their vehicles replaced, including the 15 Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae models and around 1,800 Audi vehicles that were onboard.

However, some non-VW Group vehicles were not replaced, such as a 1996 Honda Prelude SiR destined for the U.S. market. Other vehicles lost in the fire included a 1977 Land Rover Santana, a 2007 BMW 750i, a 2015 Ford Mustang, and a 2019 Mini Countryman.

The outcome of these lawsuits will undoubtedly have significant implications for the Volkswagen Group and the broader automotive industry, particularly regarding the transport and safety protocols for electric vehicles.

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