Sunday

23rd Feb 2020

VW 'partially' delivers on EU-wide plan

  • Volkswagen is treating European consumers very differently than its North American consumers (Photo: Volkswagen Belgium)

The Volkswagen Group (VW) has “partially delivered” on promises it made to the European Commission to improve its communication with European car owners affected by its emissions fraud, a commission spokesman said Thursday (22 December).

VW had promised in September that all 8.5 million Europeans who own a diesel car with emissions cheating software would be informed about the recall of their cars by the end of 2016.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or join as a group

However, VW has informed the EU that it will take until early 2017 before all customers are informed.

The company also said it would stick to the promise of having all cars repaired by autumn 2017 and start a public information campaign in January.

EU commission spokesman, Christian Wigand, said there had been contact between the commission and Volkswagen this week.

However, three months after VW promised consumer affairs commissioner Vera Jourova that it would set up “a single, clear and transparent multilingual website” to inform consumers, it has not been set up.

“I don't think the multilingual website exists yet,” said Wigand.

VW also told the EU that for 7.8 million of the affected 8.5 million cars it has received clearance from the relevant authority to remove the cheating software.

Not only Volkswagen brand cars were affected, but also Audi, Skoda, and Seat.

But consumer organisations say that the VW promises made to the commission were rather weak, to begin with.

Meanwhile, VW is still refusing to compensate Europeans affected by the scandal.

On Thursday, the government of Belgium's Wallonia region ended attempts to negotiate a settlement with VW for fiscal and environmental damages, announcing they would sue the German company.

VW's refusal to compensate consumers or authorities in Europe is striking compared to its willingness to strike deals on the other side of the Atlantic.

Also on Thursday, an American plaintiff's committee announced that it had reached a settlement deal with VW on some 80,000 3.0-litre vehicles affected by the scandal.

“Under its terms, class members will receive substantial compensation in addition to an emission modification or buyback, depending on the generation of vehicle,” the committee said in a press release. Figures were not mentioned.

Earlier this year, the plaintiff's committee achieved a settlement for 475,000 affected 2.0-litre cars.

Under that agreement, VW agreed to pay €13.2 billion to compensate US consumers and clean up the environmental damage.

While earlier this week, VW's Canadian daughter company and the Canadian government agreed to a €1.5 billion settlement, to compensate consumers.

A possible explanation for the transatlantic divergence is that in Canada and in particular in the US, VW was – and still is – facing significant fines.

In Europe, however, the German approval authority has said that it thought the recall campaign was enough punishment.

The EU commission earlier this month took legal action against Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and the UK for failing to penalise VW.

Investigation

VW: EU's action plan is 'nothing new'

Consumer affairs commissioner Jourova said Volkswagen has "committed to an EU-wide action plan", but the promise contains little news value according to the carmaker itself.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgarian PM investigated over 'money laundering'
  2. Greenpeace breaks into French nuclear plant
  3. Germany increases police presence after shootings
  4. NGO: US and EU 'watering-down' tax reform prior to G20
  5. Iran: parliamentary elections, conservatives likely to win
  6. Belgian CEOs raise alarm on political crisis
  7. Germans voice anger on rise of far-right terrorism
  8. EU leaders' budget summit drags on overnight

What will Brexit mean for climate action in EU and UK?

The UK is leaving the EU after playing a key role in climate action - just as COP26 comes to Glasgow. With so many policy negotiations ahead, a split between London and Brussels post-Brexit could undermine the 2050 emissions-neutrality goal.

Timmermans: EU climate law will 'discipline' rogue states

The first EU-wide climate law will be a "disciplining" exercise to implement the Green Deal - although the Polish climate minister Michal Kurtyka warned the EU Commission about the social cost of delivering the green transition.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. No breakthrough at EU budget summit
  2. EU leaders struggling to break budget deadlock
  3. German ex-commissioner Oettinger lands Orban job
  4. How big is Germany's far-right problem?
  5. Plastic and carbon proposals to help plug Brexit budget gap
  6. Sassoli repeats EU budget rejection warning
  7. Why Miroslav Lajčák is the wrong choice for EU envoy
  8. Unhappy EU leaders begin budget haggle

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us