A class action against Volkswagen backed by thousands of motorists over the 2015 emissions scandal could cost the company billions of pounds.
UK customers affected may be entitled to between £3,000 and £4,000 from the car manufacturer, lawyers believe.
Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 that 482,000 of its diesel vehicles in the US had been fitted with defeat device software to switch engines to a cleaner mode when they were being tested for emissions.
It then emerged that 11 million vehicles had been affected worldwide - including roughly 1.2 million across Britain.
Now a group lawsuit has been launched against the German firm on behalf of UK customers, described as an opportunity to hold VW to account.
Damon Parker, head of litigation at Harcus Sinclair UK Ltd said: "We have paved the way for consumers who trusted but were let down by VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda to seek redress through our courts.
"It is only right that UK car owners affected by the scandal have the opportunity to seek compensation.
We have secured funding so that those affected can bring this claim against VW at no cost to themselves."
Mr Parker added that if VW was found to have misled consumers about environmental damaged caused by their cars then the lawsuit would ensure the manufacturer was "penalised accordingly."
To date, 10,000 individuals and a handful of small companies have joined the action.
A website has been set up to support the group at www.vwemissionsaction.com.
The application for the group litigation order will be heard in the High Court on January 30.