THE BRITISH government has said that drivers of Volkswagens affected by the Dieselgate emissions scandal should be compensated by the German car maker.
Responding to the Commons transport committee’s recommendations, the government says it agrees UK consumers are not being treated fairly by VW.
In America owners of Volkswagen models fitted with the “defeat device” that allowed toxic emissions from diesel cars to pass undetected in testing are to receive payouts of up to $10,000.
The statement, issued today, said: “The government strongly agrees with the committee that the treatment of UK consumers has not been acceptable and that vehicle owners should be compensated for the inconvenience, uncertainty and worry caused by Volkswagen’s cheating, as well as for any loss in the value of affected vehicles which may become apparent.”
It goes on to suggest that the Sale of Goods Act 1979 may give drivers recourse.
Meanwhile, it says it is consulting with authorities across Europe before deciding on what action, if any, to take against VW.
“Prosecuting authorities from across Europe have met to discuss and co-ordinate their investigations. DfT [Department for Transport] officials have been part of those co-ordinating efforts. The government wants to ensure that the Volkswagen Group faces appropriate legal consequences for its manipulation of emissions tests.”
The German car maker’s UK division has consistently denied that British customers should be compensated. The latest stance may prompt more individuals to take action against VW.
Martin Winterkorn, the Volkswagen boss who resigned over the scandal, was handed a termination payout of €9.3m on top of a 2015 salary package of €7.3m.
Louise Ellman MP, chairwoman of the transport committee, pointed out that VW promised to have all repairs carried out to British VWs by the end of the year, but to date only 10% had been fixed.
She added: “I am pleased that the Department for Transport has promised to fight for the compensation that over a million UK Volkswagen customers deserve.”