Thursday 26 April 2018

Commissioner wants US-style deal for Volkswagen motorists

Volkswagen has so far rejected calls to compensate clients in Europe
Volkswagen has so far rejected calls to compensate clients in Europe

Alissa de Carbonnel and Andreas Cremer

Europe's Commissioner for Justice is working with EU consumer groups to pressure Volkswagen to compensate clients in Europe as it has in the United States over the diesel emissions scandal.

The German carmaker has pledged up to $15.3bn (€13.9bn) to compensate 475,000 owners of VW diesel-powered cars, but has so far rejected such calls for the 8.5 million affected vehicles in Europe, where different legal rules weaken the chances of winning a pay out.

Instead, it is implementing a technical fix approved by regulators to remove illicit software that cheated emissions tests, saying this meant car owners in Europe would not suffer a loss of value. Most US owners will get $5,100 to $10,000, based on the pre-scandal value of their vehicles.

Seeking to step up pressure on VW, European Commissioner Vera Jourova said in an email: "We are working with the consumer authorities to ensure EU consumers get a fair treatment."

The Commissioner sent a letter to national consumer protection authorities in the 28 member states last week to gather information on the difficulties they face and how they might coordinate their efforts, a spokesman for the EU executive Christian Wigand said in an email.

Options will be discussed when the Commission organises a meeting with consumer groups in Brussels in September, he said. Volkswagen declined to comment.

Despite calls from Ms Jourova and other EU officials for VW not to discriminate against car owners in Europe, responsibility for policing, penalties and enforcement in the EU lies mainly with national authorities. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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