What a difference a continent makes. Volkswagen diesel owners in the United States were recently offered a $1,000 “aid” package by for the inconvenience caused by the Dieselgate emissions-rigging scandal. European diesel owners, on the other hand, were politely told “no aid, no way.” Instead, the automaker is crafting a customer package to mitigate inconvenience caused by the upcoming recall of 8.5 million rigged diesel vehicles. The recall is to install a fix that will bring the vehicles into compliance with Eurozone emissions rules.
“Financial compensation will exclusively be offered to customers in the U.S. and Canada,” a Volkswagen spokesman said told Automotive News yesterday. The company, admitting that it had bilked buyers with the promise of “clean diesel,” said U.S. diesel owners deserved compensation. The key, Volkswagen said, is market penetration. For example, in Europe more than half the vehicles sold are diesel, making it a major player in the market. In the United States, on the other hand, diesel is very much a niche market. And, U.S. diesel owners face other issues not facing those in Europe. For example, U.S. diesel owners pay more for their fuel because diesel costs more than gasoline. In Europe, diesel brings other benefits. For instance, diesel owners can receive tax benefits and, in some countries, diesel fuel costs less than gasoline. The automaker also believes that the inconvenience level will be lower for Europeans than for Americans simply because of timing. Because the automaker expects:
- To have the final pieces to the fix in place soon – work on only the 1.2-liter diesel section is still incomplete.
- To have the paperwork issues relating to the Eurozone-wide recall completed by mid-December.
European diesel owners will have their cars recalled and repaired more quickly than Americans. Planning for the U.S. fix is still early on. Volkswagen also expects Germany’s Motor Transport Authority (KBA) to accept the fix. Once the fix has been approved by the KBA, it will become standard across the 28-member Eurozone. Zone regulations state that if one country approves a rule, it is then binding across the region. Once the fix is in place, VW will launch what will one of the largest recalls in European automotive history as some 8.5 million vehicles will be recalled.
Volkswagen has admitted rigging 11 million vehicles worldwide with emissions scamware. Models equipped with this software include not only VW, but also its subsidiaries Audi, Skoda, Seat and VW commercial vans. The software fooled official tests, allowing harmful emission levels of oxides of nitrogen