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OLG Munich confirms “manufacturing defect” – success for vehicle leasing returns

In a complicated legal dispute before the Regional Court of Cologne and the Regional Court of Munich I, which lasted for more than 5 years and several instances and involved a car dealer, the manufacturer and the financing bank, the law firm was able to achieve a victory for the car buyer. The OLG Munich rejected the appeal.

The buyer, an IT company with its own vehicle fleet, leased its vehicles through a bank close to the car manufacturer. He returned the vehicle shortly before the end of the warranty period with the remark that “white smoke” had risen. The bank later charged the buyer the reduced value due to a major engine damage. The buyer did not want to pay because, among other things, he suspected a warranty defect, while the dealer accused him of misconduct in continuing the journey. Furthermore, it was disputed what was agreed upon when the vehicle was returned. In the end, the dealer lost the case because the court found that he had failed to honour his commitments.

RA Witte: “The legal dispute raised a lot of questions. But the decisive factor was that we were able to prove engine damage. After intensive research, we formulated the technically relevant questions of evidence for the diesel engine concerned – it was a component of the injectors that could melt. The expert called in by the court then impressively confirmed the results suspected on this side and established a serial fault as an already known manufacturing defect, which raised the question of product liability or a so-called “continuing defect”.

Note: A constitutional complaint has been lodged against the judgement (LG Munich I Az. 30 O 1103/11; OLG Munich 18 U 4755/12). The decision of the OLG itself no longer deals with engine damage. The article comments on the decisions in the opinion of the law firm.

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