Dieselgate: EU accuses Volkswagen of delaying compensation claims across the bloc

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By Euronews  with AFP
Display cars are parked at a Volkswagen dealership.
Display cars are parked at a Volkswagen dealership.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, FILE

The European Union has accused Volkswagen of "playing for time" and not compensating all victims of the Dieselgate scandal.

EU Consumer Commissioner Didier Reynders criticised the German carmaker's unwillingness to act across the continent.

"The Commission and EU consumer authorities [are] calling upon Volkswagen to compensate all EU consumers, also those residing outside of Germany, for having misled them as regards their vehicles' emission standards," a statement read.

"Six years ago ‘Dieselgate' broke. Up until now, not all consumers have been compensated," said Reynders.

"There have been court rulings exposing Volkswagen's unfair treatment of consumers, and yet the carmaker is not willing to work with consumer organisations to find appropriate solutions for consumers," he added.

"Not only consumers residing in Germany, but all consumers need to be compensated."

In 2015, Volkswagen admitted that it had fitted 11 million of its diesel vehicles with software that concealed the true level of emissions.

Some cars were found to have been producing more than 40 more nitrogen oxides than permitted.

The scandal, which affected around 8.5 million vehicles in Europe has already cost Volkswagen €30 billion globally.

Last year, the carmaker reached an out-of-court settlement with a German consumer association, offering affected consumers between €1,350 and €6,250 in compensation depending on the type and age of their vehicle.

But the group is also facing thousands of individual civil cases, which are often settled out of court with unpublished payments.

In a statement, the EU's Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC) welcomed the settlements in Germany but called on Volkswagen to contact all of those affected in other member states.

The CPC urged the carmaker "to find appropriate solutions and close this chapter avoiding years of litigation".

Reynders has estimated that around 900,000 Volkswagen customers in France were impacted by Dieselgate, with another 400,000 in Belgium, and 150,000 in the Netherlands.

The EU Commissioner said Volkswagen should set a compensation rule for all EU customers based on the average they had already awarded in previous cases.