US-style compensation for Europeans could "overwhelm" Volkswagen

Oliver Gill
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Matthias Mueller will likely be under renewed pressure following the agreement in the US (Source: Getty)

Volkswagen has rebuffed calls from the EU for a US-style compensation package for European customers affected in the ‘Dieselgate’ emissions scandal.

"You don't have to be a mathematician to realise that compensation at arbitrarily high levels would overwhelm Volkswagen," said CEO, Matthias Mueller, speaking to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Details emerged two weeks ago of the scale of the deal that VW agreed with a Federal Judge to settle US claims. This prompted European Industry Commissioner, Elzbieta Bienkowska, to repeat her long-standing contention that the German car giant should be offering its European customers a similar deal.

The US agreement was officially announced on Tuesday, with customers in line for between $5,000 and $10,000.

It will cost the company a total of $14.7bn: $10bn to buy back those cars affected, $2.7bn to be placed into an environmental fund and a further $2.0bn to be invested into zero emission technology.

VW has consistently refused to offer a similar deal to its European customers since details emerged US customers may be in line for a pay out several months ago, citing a different legal structure as the determining factor.

“We have a different situation here (in Europe),” said Mueller.

“In the U.S. the (emission) limits are stricter, which makes the fix more complicated. And taking part in the buyback is voluntary (for customers), which is not the case in Germany, for example.”

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