The Environmental Audit Committee has urged the transport secretary and the government to take action in the wake of the VW emissions scandal
Jimi Beckwith
12 September 2016

The UK government must crack down on Volkswagen’s response time in the wake of the emissions scandal, a parliamentary committee has concluded in its latest report.

The Environmental Audit Committee has released a report that alleges the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and secretary of state for transport Chris Grayling have failed UK VW owners “by letting slide the opportunity to investigate VW’s behaviour and, potentially, to take legal action.”

Pressure on the government

No legal action has been taken by the UK government yet in response to the emissions scandal, which first surfaced almost a year ago, on 18 September 2015, and the committee has expressed concern over that. As the anniversary of the scandal approaches, it seems frustration is mounting.

The report states that if there were sufficient proof that VW knowingly falsified information on registration documents, legal action may be taken by both the CMA on the grounds of "unfair commercial practices and misleading actions and omissions" and the SFO for fraud.

The Department for Transport responded to the committee’s enquiry, stating “we have been sharing with them [CMA and SFO] the information that we have so that we can understand and we continue to look very hard at what legal recourse options are available”.

In a statement accompanying the report, MP Mary Creagh, who is chair of the committee, said: "There's been a worrying inertia from ministers in tackling the VW scandal and they should decide whether to take legal action. They should ask the Vehicle Certification Agency to carry out tests to see whether, without the cheat devices, VW Group cars in the UK would have failed emissions tests."

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It's not the first time the government has been called to act more decisively over the emissions scandal. The Transport Select Committee has previously urged the government to prosecute VW. 

Pressure on VW

The report also targeted Volkswagen’s tardiness in recalling affected cars. The committee’s report stated: “We find it deeply disappointing that VW continues to lag behind the department’s preferred timescale for recalling vehicles that contain emissions test cheat devices.”

The report addresses the delays it refers to, claiming that earlier this year VW told the secretary of state it “did not expect the delays to affect the overall timescales for carrying out the technical changes”.

Last month, Volkswagen confirmed that the fix for the affected 1.2-litre diesel engine found in the VW Polo, Seat Ibiza and Skoda Fabia had been approved by the German authorities and that remedial work would begin. Recalls are steadily starting, although the committee expects quicker progress.

Volkswagen released a statement in response to the committee's report, which said: "At Volkswagen Group UK customers are our priority and every owner has been written to at least three times to keep them up to date.  We are working hard to apply the approved technical measures to as many cars as swiftly as possible as soon as they are approved. The process of applying the technical measures has been under way since January 2016 and we have applied the measures to over 100,000 vehicles in the UK.

We will continue to work closely with the authorities involved to fulfil our commitments. We cannot comment further at this stage on the status of any potential legal claims."

Australia sues Volkswagen

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is suing Volkswagen in the light of the emissions scandal.

More than 57,000 affected cars were sold in Australia, for which the ACCC wants "a public declaration of misconduct, financial penalties and corrective advertising," according to a report from the BBC.

Australia is the latest in a line of countries and groups to take legal action against the Volkswagen Group. VW’s US dealer network recently reached a settlement with the automotive giant, claiming its share of the billions set aside by Volkswagen to cover the cost of various legal actions taken against it.

Volkswagen is currently working on a statement about Australia’s recently announced legal action against its Australian arm.

Join the debate


1 September 2016
First the United States then South Korea and now Australia has challenged the Volkswagen for the colossal fraud it has committed. Australian emissions laws are similar to the UK and Europe. What's stopping our government is anyone's guess. Perhaps they await a directive from Brussels aka Berlin aka Wolfsburg aka Stuttgart. This racket runs deep!

1 September 2016
Some people still believe we have a democracy,,,, comments like that are going to spoil the illusion. Sadly our government are too busy interfering in the democratic process in places like Syria & Iraq to bother VW about the small matter of fraud and pollution. Personally I suspect this whole diesel-gate affair was an attempt to distract the attention of the public away from the findings of the Chillcot inquiry to keep Blair out of the headlines.

1 September 2016
There are no UK specific exhaust emission standards, so surely this is a European issue? I would have thought that our various government departments would have better things to do than argue about what to do with Volkswagen. If exhaust pollution is a serious issue, then the problem would be better addressed by tackling some of the worn out gross polluters on and off our roads.


1 September 2016
This not about one company i.e. VW group this underlines what is wrong with society and big business where its acceptable to lie hide the truth or what every you want to call it. Other global companies such as Apple etc. get dodgy deals that then make it ok to work in even more dodgy ways on the edge of the law and its even happening in sports witness the Olympics, Lance Armstrong and others. Governments and the public need to penalise this and control it, as capitalism cant self regulate its self. Companies footballers who ever it is that gets up to no good BHS for one get investigated nothing is done and then it sends out a message that to cheat is how you get on. governments need to have more action and outcomes and less enquiries that cost us all and help no one apart from Lawyers.
God help the next generation if they look to sport and business for ethics and values !

1 September 2016
They are lying cheats and fraudsters, they sell cars to the USa way below Uk and EU prices but give them preloaded credit cards for fuel and then compensation.They are even compensating the dealers nearly a billion dollars about £1 m sterling each dealer.From my experience, they are 40% less fuel efficient than stated and there are some design failings leading to repeated repairs.I will invest my pounds in JLR Mercedes and BMW in future.Hope the UK decide to sue them.

2 September 2016
There are millions of stupid people out there then - all prepared to pay more for seemingly less. After all, the people who buy 'Porche' are all incredibly stupid to be able to afford one in the first place.

And when you buy your JLR product, please don't keep it beyond the warranty period, or you'll find out what repair costs really are then!

2 September 2016
But do not forget that VW Audi subsidize the vast majority of cars sold on pcp and contract hire to businesses.This way they can hide the discounts.I have only had persistent repair jobs on a VW golf due to design flaws and never on JLR.I have owned straight 6 XJ and v8 friends have two v6 XF and one has XK8 I have and still own Range Rover Sport Autobiography and they have and are all great cars only once had a problem with water washer bottle ,the tube chaffing Manchester airport the other week I saw two new Mercedes one of which was the coupe GLE broken down.A friend has had a bew gearbox on Audi A3 just out of warranty. I also had paint problems on an E class Estate soome years ago ,brand new think it was made in S Africa.


12 September 2016
Err, actually ALL the manufacturer's subsidise PCP's heavily Ski Kid, including JLR, so don't try to make this a VW Group issue!
As far as JLR reliability goes, Jaguar is not too bad, but Land Rover still have a long,long way to go, and given the layers of unnecessary complexity they are adding to new models, this isn't going to improve anytime soon.
Range Rover gearbox's blowing up at 60k miles for example.....this sort of expense makes RR ownership prohibitive as a second-hand buy.

2 September 2016
Millions of people have been caught by the fraudulent VW Audi group ,with the Company having to set aside billions of Euros to cover the USA and now the Australians are taking Action even the Bavarian State, it being a shareholder.I am saying your money is safer invested in JLR Mercedes and BMwW in my opinion.If they carry on doing the subsidies I can see why one would have one on a pcp or contract hire as there is no financial risk being taken on residuals.

3 September 2016
It is all academic. Whereas the American consumers receive compensation, the UK government only think of themselves and would award any penalty to their own pet projects (or pensions) rather than the vehicle owners.


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