VW offers British owners repairs instead of payouts


Paul Willis said that drivers would not get “goodwill payments” over the diesel emissions scandal because the money would be better spent speeding up the repairs process, reports The Times.

The move comes despite a decision to award motorists in America $1,000 (£693) each to “encourage loyalty”.

Mr Willis’s comments are likely to intensify anger over the affair, in which VW fitted software to engines in a deliberate attempt to manipulate emissions tests. At least 11 million cars and vans were fitted with the devices worldwide, including almost 1.2 million in the UK. The company has been forced into a global recall of vehicles, and has set aside almost £5 billion to deal with the issue.

The Commons transport select committee published a letter to MPs yesterday from Mr Willis, Volkswagen’s UK managing director, setting out the latest developments in the scandal. It revealed that an internal investigation led by Jones Day, the law firm, was expected to last well into this year.

Mr Willis confirmed that UK customers would not receive the same goodwill payment that had been promised to those in the US. All affected cars in Britain were due to be fixed by the end of this year.

He said: “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 and ensuring that it is done with as little inconvenience as possible.”

Customers in the US were in a “very different position” because engine configurations were not the same, he said. This meant that “most US Volkswagen customers will have to wait considerably longer for the technical measures to be implemented than UK customers”, he added.

The goodwill gesture in the US “recognises that uncertainty, and seeks to encourage loyalty in that group whilst they wait for the technical measures to be developed”, it was claimed.

In a further blow to the company, California regulators yesterday rejected the carmaker’s plans to recall 75,000 2-litre vehicles fitted with the so-called defeat devices.

The California Air Resources Board’s rejection of the plan as lacking “sufficient detail” was backed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the federal watchdog.