Volkswagen Won't Compensate European Diesel Owners After Emissions Scandal

Illustration for article titled Volkswagen Won't Compensate European Diesel Owners After Emissions Scandal

Unlike owners in the U.S. and Canada, Automotive News reports that Volkswagen will not be giving out dirty-diesel gift cards—or any other form of compensation—to Europeans in the same Dieselgate-induced situation.


The two gift cards given to owners in the U.S. will each be worth $500, one a prepaid Visa card able to be used anywhere and the other redeemable at VW dealerships. In addition, owners will receive three years of 24-hour roadside assistance. But the poor folks in Europe, well, all they get is a promise from the manufacturer that they’ll be “inconvenienced as little as possible when their vehicles are recalled for fixes.”

Ouch. With numbers of affected cars hovering around 8.5 million in Europe versus 482,000 in the U.S., it almost seems as if VW simply chose the smaller population for the attempts to redeem itself through the “Goodwill Program.”

But, not so fast—VW had a couple of explanations for why they’re giving European owners (which would be a much larger monetary investment) the cold shoulder for gift cards. From Automotive News:

VW says U.S. customers with rigged cars deserve compensation because they bought a vehicle specifically advertised as a “clean diesel.” In the U.S., customers were investing in a niche technology compared with Europe where more than half of new cars sold are diesels, the company argues.

U.S. customers also pay more to run a diesel car because the diesel fuel costs more than gasoline whereas European buyers receive tax benefits and, in some countries, pay less for diesel fuel than for gasoline.

Automotive News reports that VW thinks European owners will be less inconvenienced overall with their dirty diesels than those in the U.S., as the recall procedures are much further along over there. As for the U.S., they’ve got enough money on their gift cards to perhaps go buy a cheap mountain bike to travel on for the time being.

America. Land of the free, and home of the... Volkswagen gift cards. Oh, Canada—they get gift cards, too. (Did you catch that pun? Did you?)


Photo credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski, file

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I think the main reason is that diesel in the us is on life support, where it’s not going anywhere anytime soon in Europe. Since diesels are a huge part of vws brand for the last 10 us diesel = vw.