Car maker Volkswagen has rejected a demand from the EU's industry commissioner to launch a compensation scheme for car owners in Europe affected by the emissions scandal. The company has said that there were no grounds to replicate in Europe the compensation programme that it is offering in the US.
The company said it was paying compensation in North America because it had yet to agree with local regulators on how to fix the affected vehicles. As such, its affected vehicle owners would have to wait longer for a solution.
VW has agreed to pay a goodwill compensation worth $1,000 (£707; €919) each to up to tens of thousands of owners of VW vehicles found to be in breach of the US emissions limits. The company admitted in September last year that it had cheated US environmental tests by using software to mask nitrogen oxide emissions that can cause or exacerbate respiratory disease.
Through the weeks after, it has emerged that up to 11 million vehicles worldwide could have had the cheat software installed. This includes around 8.5 million vehicles in Europe.
The EU industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska had written to the VW chief executive Matthias Mueller last week listing a number of requests which included compensation for affected VW owners in Europe. This however has been rejected by the company.
"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," the company said in a statement 21 January following a meeting between Mueller and Bienkowska in Brussels.
The statement added that the compensation scheme to be offered in the US "cannot simply be rolled out in other markets." Bienkowska however is not accepting the company's refusal.
In a separate statement after the meeting, the European Commission said: "Commissioner Bienkowska invited the group once again to reflect on adequate ways to compensate consumers. 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."