Volkswagen has confirmed that it will not be offering compensation to disgruntled European customers, despite ongoing pressure from the European Union.
Just last week, EU industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska wrote to VW CEO Matthias Mueller demanding owners of affected vehicles should be compensated.
VW responded in a statement on Thursday, saying: "We are concentrating in Europe on the repair and service process. The situation in the USA and Canada is not automatically comparable with other markets in the world, therefore this action cannot simply be rolled out in other markets".
The European Commission has already said that it believes Bienkowska's requests are justified, stating: "She repeated her clear view that EU consumers should be treated in the same way as US customers. Mr Mueller agreed to come back to the Commissioner on the points discussed."
Earlier this month, UK boss Paul Willis faced similar pressure from British MPs when he appeared before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. He refuted claims that VW UK should offer payouts to customers of affected vehicles, arguing that it wasn't necessary because unlike in the US, "we have a solution here".
In a statement made on the committee's website, Louise Ellman MP highlighted VW's contrasting statements in the US and Europe, stating: "Volkswagen is disputing that the software installed in affected vehicles constitutes a defeat device in the EU, despite conceding that the same software constitutes a defeat device in the United States. The German motoring authority, the KBA, has declared that in its legal opinion Volkswagen did use a defeat device to pass type approval emissions tests in Europe."
The committee has also published a letter sent to Ellmann by Willis, in which he states that Volkswagen will not be providing compensation to UK owners at present, as the company believes those funds are better used to back its technical fixes. "We think that, with the fix just around the corner, the sums available for such a goodwill payment should be spent on maximising the uptake of the technical measures among customers," says Willis.
Willis also says that VW "does not believe it is necessary" to provide compensation to UK owners, as no customer will pay higher tax rates as a result of the CO2 scandal. In Willis' letter, the point is also raised that the goodwill package offered to customers in the US does not constitute compensation.
Autocar editoral director Jim Holder appeared in front of the Transport Select Committee earlier this month to provide evidence as part of the investigation. Read his blog on the experience here.
Darren Moss and Sam Sheehan