As lawsuits go, it's big.
Close to half a million car owners are registered to take on industry giant VW ...
In their bid to win a class action over its rigging of diesel emissions tests.
Interest in what is the first action of its kind in Germany is so intense that Monday's (September 30) hearing took place in a town hall ...
Rather than the usual courthouse, to allow for large numbers of observers.
The claim from the plaintiffs: that VW car owners were intentionally harmed by the firm's use of emissions-cheating engine software.
Lawyer Marco Rogert:
(SOUNDBITE) (German) LAWYER REPRESENTING PLAINTIFFS, MARCO ROGERT, SAYING:
"That's what we want to find out. We even believe that it was fraud."
VW's lawyer says their goal is to make clear consumers did not suffer any damage.
On Monday, the carmaker rejected a judge's call for a settlement.
Its vehicles, the firm said, are driven by hundreds of thousands of people every day.
In 2016, Volkswagen agreed to pay more than $25 billion in the United States over claims from owners, regulators, states and dealers and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting vehicles.
In Germany, VW says, there is no legal basis for consumers to seek compensation.
Either way, dieselgate still casts its shadow.
Just last week, prosecutors indicted VW chief executive Herbert Diess, chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch and former CEO Martin Winterkorn ...
Accusing them of withholding market-moving information on the extent of the scandal.