Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance / dpa
The diesel scandal engine that VW had developed can also be found in some Audi cars.
Thanks to a ruling from Karlsruhe, plaintiffs now have improved chances of success.
The highest civil judges of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) confirmed several judgments of the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Munich, which had largely awarded four Audi buyers the requested money.
The Ingolstadt carmaker is now legally sentenced to pay.
It is the first time that such a claim for damages against Audi before the BGH has been successful.
The EA189 engine was used in various Audi models, but was developed by the parent company Volkswagen.
In two earlier cases, the plaintiffs therefore had bad cards at the BGH.
The judges missed concrete evidence that someone at Audi knew about the illegal exhaust technology.
An "attribution of knowledge" beyond the boundaries of the group companies is not possible.
The Munich judges, on the other hand, considered it unthinkable that not a single Audi manager had knowledge of the manipulated control software.
In their opinion, it is impossible that the engine was installed virtually blind.
The BGH does not endorse this argument, but declared it "legally possible".
The appellate court could only examine whether the judge - in this case the OLG - had "dealt with the matter comprehensively and without contradictions".
As a result, there is nothing wrong with that.
The judgment cannot be transferred to other cases
Audi called the BGH decision "wrong".
It is "also not easily transferable to other pending proceedings."
"Appeal courts will therefore have to examine for each individual case whether the plaintiff's submission meets the requirements of the BGH."
The effects of the BGH ruling are also likely to be limited because most of those affected did not bring an action against Audi, but against VW.
In this way, claims for damages were much easier to enforce.
According to Audi, there are currently still a low four-digit number of pending proceedings.
These include cases in which the claims are presumably statute-barred.
At VW, the BGH assumes that the use of illegal exhaust technology in millions of vehicles must have been based on a strategic decision at a high level.
Authorities and customers have been systematically duped.
Because in reality the cars emitted too many pollutants - only in the test did software ensure that the limit values were adhered to.
Therefore, claimants who meet the requirements can in principle return their car to VW.
However, you do not get the full purchase price back, but have to count the kilometers driven.
Against this background, VW had agreed on a settlement group-wide in tens of thousands of proceedings without waiting for a court decision.
These plaintiffs were allowed to keep their car.
In addition, a sample comparison between Volkswagen and the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations gave a good 245,000 people affected by sums of between 1350 and 6257 euros.
This also includes diesel owners who don't drive a VW, but an Audi.
hej / dpa