VW jetta TDI US-spec

Own a Volkswagen diesel engine fitted with so-called “defeat devices” and want to be compensated in a similar fashion to North American buyers, but live on the other side of the Atlantic? Well, it’s bad news, as the Volkswagen Group has confirmed that it will not offer such packages to European buyers, according to Automotive News Europe.

The German conglomerate, until recently the world’s biggest carmaker, will instead enact a series of measures to guarantee the least inconvenience as possible to owners, as their vehicles are recalled to get them compliant with type approval regulations, a Volkswagen spokesman said.

“Financial compensation will exclusively be offered to customers in the US and Canada,” he added, referring to the “Goodwill Package” that compensates some 482,000 North American owners with a US$500 (RM2,150) prepaid Visa card, another US$500 prepaid card to be used at VW dealerships, as well as three years’ 24-hour roadside assistance.

Volkswagen contends that only US buyers deserve compensation, as they were investing in a niche fuel technology and were specifically sold on a “clean diesel” vehicle. This contrasts with Europe where the fuel is widespread, and more than half of new cars sold are diesel-powered.

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The company added that unlike in the US, where diesel cars cost more to run due to the more expensive fuel, it’s the opposite situation in Europe – not only is diesel cheaper than petrol in some countries, but buyers also receive tax benefits for running oil burners.

Additionally, VW believes that as it’s closer to a EU-wide recall of affected vehicles, European customers will be less inconvenienced by the fallout of the diesel emissions scandal than those in the US, where Wolfsburg’s discussions with authorities over a proposed solution are at “a less advanced stage.”

Volkswagen has admitted that some diesel-powered models may be fitted with engine management software designed to cheat federal tests for harmful nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions, conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This could affect up to 11 million VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat passenger vehicles and VW commercial vehicles worldwide.

Of these, around 8.5 million cars were sold in Europe, almost 18 times the number of cars affected in the US – this would mean that offering a compensation package like the one in the US would cost Volkswagen much more in Europe. The report states that giving a combined €1,000 (RM4,570) worth of cash cards and vouchers to each affected owner would set VW back around €8.5 billion (RM38.8bil).

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Volkswagen is on the verge of conducting one of the biggest recalls in European automotive history – it has sent plans to rectify vehicles powered by the EA189 family of engines fitted with these “defeat devices” to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) for approval.

The company has developed a fix for all EA189 engines except 1.2 litre versions – the rectification for the latter, reportedly amounting to a software adjustment, should be ready soon. Volkswagen expects the issues regarding the recall to be clarified by the end of the month or the middle of December at the latest.

Recalls will commence once KBA approves the fixes – the German body’s decision should be accepted by all 28 EU nations, as EU-wide certification only requires approval from one country, even though every EU country is authorised to provide type approval.

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