Sunday

18th Feb 2018

Interview

Dieselgate: EU disappointed with VW's treatment of customers

  • Volkswagen is refusing to offer any bonus to customers affected by the emissions fraud (Photo: Brett Levin)

The EU's highest official in charge of consumer affairs is “disappointed” that Volkswagen is unwilling to give even a non-financial compensation to consumers who had bought a diesel car equipped with cheating software.

“My optimism is decreasing since last year October, when I was very clear about what I would like Volkswagen to do,” EU justice and consumer affairs commissioner Vera Jourova told EUobserver on Monday (20 February).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Jourova (l) told VW CEO Mueller (r) she is 'disappointed' (Photo: European Commission)

She wants the German carmaker to provide the 8.5 million Europeans with affected cars with a “gentleman's gesture”.

“Some bonus for inconvenience, something like prolonging of the guarantee period on the engine, or something of this nature,” said Jourova.

It is 522 days on Tuesday since the news broke that Volkswagen Group had fooled authorities with illegal devices that made the car switch into a more environmentally friendly mode during the official test.

Jourova has had three meetings with Volkswagen officials, most recently on 6 February with CEO Matthias Mueller.

“And I still have nothing as a clear concrete response. I informed Mr Mueller that I have been disappointed by the approach to this non-financial bonus and I am still hoping there will be some positive change,” the Czech politician said.

Jourova added she lacked “the tough competence to push for something concrete”, meaning that the European Commission does not have the jurisdiction to act.

She said some national consumer authorities had the power to take legal action, which could result in financial compensation.

The treatment of consumers in Europe differs starkly from that of those in the United States.

There, Volkswagen has agreed to financially compensate affected consumers.

Last week, an American court gave preliminary approval to a settlement between VW and the owners of approximately 75,000 affected Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche vehicles with a three litre engine.

Depending on the model, consumers will receive between around €6,656 and €15,237.

It follows an earlier settlement with owners of cars with a two litre engine, who were entitled to €4,600 and €9,000 each.

But the scale of affected cars is different. In the US, some 482,000 cars are affected. The number of cars with cheating software in Europe is 17 times as large.

Last Summer, VW CEO Mueller said offering a similar compensation scheme in Europe would “overstretch” the German company.

For example, if every European consumer received €4,600, Volkswagen would have to set aside €39.1 billion.

“This is an important European company, which employs 600,000 people. I am not here [as] an advocate of Volkswagen but I must see also this aspect,” said Jourova.

She said Europe is “missing” a single court that would have been able to rule on compensation for all European consumers.

Meanwhile, Germany is not willing to apply the same threats as the US.

While Volkswagen was facing potentially high fines in the US, German authorities have said on the record that Volkswagen did not need to be punished beyond having to repair the affected cars.

VW 'partially' delivers on EU-wide plan

German carmaker had promised the EU that all its citizens who own a diesel car with cheating software would be informed by the end of the year, but now it says it needs more time.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Nord Stream 2 pipeline poses 'no danger'
  2. Spanish king in Barcelona next week
  3. Turkey jails journalists for life
  4. Make budget cuts in farm and regional funds, the Dutch say
  5. UN: Hungary's anti-migration bill is 'assault on human rights'
  6. Journalist Deniz Yucel freed in Turkey
  7. New organic farming bill not ready until late spring
  8. Commissioner: Western Balkans in EU is 'obvious'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  2. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  3. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  4. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  6. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  7. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  8. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February
  9. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  10. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  11. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  12. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections

Latest News

  1. EU asks charities to explain anti-abuse measures
  2. ECB, Budget, EU elections This WEEK
  3. EU states stay mute on implementation of mercury bill
  4. Baltic states demand bigger EU budget
  5. Germany raises concerns over Hungary's 'Stop Soros' bills
  6. EU ties Brexit transition talks to divorce agreement
  7. EU divided over Western Balkan enlargement
  8. Facebook and Twitter weak on protecting users, says EU