Volkswagen owners demand compensation

A Which? survey of over 2,000 VW diesel owners has revealed nine in 10 think people impacted by the scandal should receive compensation, despite Volkswagen failing to confirm whether any will be on offer.

When we asked VW owners what the important factors were when they purchased their car, 96% of people cited fuel efficiency and 90% environmental impact, both areas undermined by the scandal involving ‘defeat devices’ that were fitted to diesel vehicles.

In the wake of this scandal, we found the top concern for VW owners was the environmental impact of the vehicle (86%), closely followed by the resale value of their car (83%) and performance (73%). We also found that over half of the drivers who may be affected would now be put off buying a VW diesel car in the future.

Although VW has now started to write to affected customers, the letters are woefully short on detail and do not mention redress, only referring to a ‘service action’ that will be required to correct the problem. With eight in 10 drivers waiting for more information before they decide what action to take, and three-quarters (74%) saying that the response from VW has been poor, detailed proposals are now needed to reassure customers.

Giving evidence to the Commons Transport Committee on Monday, Paul Willis, Managing Director of Volkswagen UK, refused to confirm whether they would compensate customers and suggested that a recall may not happen until the new year, despite there being over one million affected vehicles currently in the UK.

Which? is urging VW to set out a clear timetable for redress for the owners of the 1.2 million cars affected, while the Government must closely monitor the manufacturer’s next steps to ensure recalls and redress happen quickly and easily.

We also want the Government to clarify its timeframe for a genuinely independent investigation into this scandal and to specify how it will work with the European Commission to implement new tests for emissions and fuel economy before 2017.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said:

“Many VW owners tell us they decided to buy their car based on its efficiency and low environmental impact, so it’s outrageous that VW aren’t being clear with their customers about how and when they will be compensated.

“Volkswagen UK must set out an urgent timetable for redress to the owners of the affected vehicles. We also need assurances from the Government that it is putting in place changes to prevent anything like this happening again.”

Notes to editors:

  1. Which? surveyed 2,033 people who own a VW brand diesel car manufactured between 2008 and 2015 between 9th and 13th October 2015.  Respondents were sampled from Which?’s supporter group of more than 580,000 people. We contacted 12,311 people that have signed our Clean Up Fuel Claims petition and told us they owned a VW group car. Of these, 2,033 told us they drive a VW group diesel built between 2008-2015 and think their car is affected.
  2. Over 67,000 people have signed up to our Come Clean On Fuel Claimscampaign.

We want:

  • All car manufacturers to announce whether their emissions tests have been manipulated;
  • The Government to immediately publish a timetable for a genuinely independent investigation and ensure any consumers found to be affected can get easy access to redress; and
  • The European Commission must announce how they will bring forward new tests with full and proper independent oversight by the end of the year.

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