Professor Florian Stahl Supports SWR in Emissions Scandal Survey

Are emission scandal lawsuits becoming a business model? A survey of the Südwestrundfunk (SWR) broadcasting corporation tried to answer this question. Marketing expert Florian Stahl monitored the process from a scientific point of view.

The SWR and Professor Florian Stahl, holder of the Chair of Quantitative Marketing at the University of Mannheim, have conducted an online survey among persons affected by the emissions scandal. More than 4,400 persons, who claimed damages due to illegal emission technology in their vehicles, participated in the survey. Stahl helped the SWR in creating the questionnaire and interpreting the results. The aim of the survey was to find out why so many customers are filing emissions scandal-related lawsuits.

“We started the survey with the assumption that lawyers are initiating emissions scandal lawsuits to make money”, explains Stahl. Automobile companies have repeatedly claimed that emissions scandal-related lawsuits were becoming a business model. According to the survey, however, this is not the case: 83 percent of the survey participants said that they were convinced from the beginning that they wanted to file a lawsuit.  “We cannot confirm that it is a business model because the plaintiffs themselves wished to file a lawsuit.” The Marketing professor also thinks that the plaintiffs’ age is one of the reasons: “Many of the survey participants are already retired and have enough time on their hands to deal with the topic.” Many of them also said that they had a legal expenses insurance.

In addition, the survey revealed that 86 percent of all plaintiffs would sue again to enforce their interests. The persons affected name the diminished value of their car and the disappointment about the broken environmental promise as motivation for their claim. 

Please click here for more results of the SWR survey (in German).