Business Irish

Saturday 24 August 2019

Irish consumer watchdog body launches probe into VW claims

CCPC is 'committed to obtaining the best outcome for Irish consumers'

'If Volkswagen is convicted of a breach of the law affected consumers may be awarded compensation'
'If Volkswagen is convicted of a breach of the law affected consumers may be awarded compensation'
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is pursuing Volkswagen over the recent emissions scandals at the car manufacturer.

The Commission said it has opened a formal investigation in response to last week's admission by Volkswagen that there were "unexplained inconsistencies" in carbon dioxide output and fuel consumption readings that could affect around 800,000 cars sold in Europe.

CCPC chair Isolde Goggin said the commission is "deeply concerned about the situation which has emerged in recent weeks, particularly the latest disclosure in relation to CO2 emission tests,"

"We know that the level of CO2 emissions and the related issue of fuel economy are key considerations for consumers when choosing a car. Therefore, we are concerned that purchasers of Volkswagen Group-manufactured cars may have been influenced by information that would now seem to be inaccurate," Ms Goggin said.

"This investigation is a priority for the Commission given the potential scale of consumer detriment. We are committed to obtaining the best outcome for Irish consumers and ensuring that they do not suffer as a consequence of being provided with misleading information.

"The Commission's investigation will establish whether there has been a breach of consumer protection law in Ireland. It will consider whether or not the information provided to consumers was misleading as well as the impact of any proposed remedy," Ms Goggin said.

Volkswagen said in a statement that "during the current examinations of all processes and workflows relating to diesel engines, it was found that for the CO2 certification of some vehicle models the CO2 levels and thus fuel consumption figures were understated. This predominantly concerns vehicles with diesel engines.

"Here in Ireland, we are still working proactively with all of the relevant authorities in relation to this matter. We at this stage do not have a final number in relation to cars that potentially have understated CO2 emissions but we would expect to have this within days."

If Volkswagen is convicted of a breach of the law affected consumers may be awarded compensation.

Volkswagen, which sells brands including Audi and Skoda, first got into trouble when it emerged that a 'defeat device' had been placed in diesel cars to fool testers. The device temporarily lowered nitrous oxide emissions when cars were being tested. Last week it admitted the inconsistencies in carbon dioxide emissions.

"To date there has been regular engagement between the Commission and Volkswagen Group Ireland in relation to the most recent CO2 announcement and the earlier EA189 issue which relates to NOx (nitrous oxide) emissions," the CCPC said.

"A number of requests for information have been made as the Commission works towards understanding the exact nature of these issues and the impact on consumers."

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