The government must decide whether to take action against the car manufacturer Volkswagen over its deception on emissions testing, the Transport Select Committee has concluded in a report published today 15 July.
The report was published following admissions last year that Volkswagen had fitted cheat devices to several of its car models in order to circumvent tests designed to limit emissions of nitrogen dioxide.
The company has agreed a $14 billion settlement in the United States over the allegations, but has not offered any form of compensation to European customers.
The company agreed to offer US consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 of its 2009-2015 2.0 litre diesel vehicles sold or leased in the USA, and spend up to $10.03 billion to compensate consumers under the program (See airqualitynews.com story).
Louise Ellman MP, chair of the Transport Select Committee, believes Volkswagen has treated UK consumers unfairly.
She said: Volkswagen has acted cynically to cheat emissions tests which exist solely to protect human health. The companys evidence to us was just not credible but the government has lacked the will to hold them accountable for its actions. There is a real danger that Volkswagen will be able to get away with cheating emissions tests in Europe if regulators do not act.
Vehicle owners have been refused goodwill payments. That is despite Volkswagen inflicting a great deal of uncertainty on its own customers along with the prospect of declining residual values and the inconvenience of having to undergo repairs.
The Transport Select Committee argues in the report that without proper sanctions against manufacturers who cheat emissions tests that there is little to stop a similar scandal from happening again.
The committee has called in the report for the government to establish a robust regulator to restore confidence and competence in the industry.
However, Volkswagen said in a statement it is working with European authorities to modify its vehicles, so they comply with EU emission standards.
A spokesman for the company said: At Volkswagen all customers are important they are at the centre of everything we do. And we have always emphasised our overriding principle: we look after every single customer.
This is why Volkswagen, in all markets, is working to make the procedure on the affected vehicles as convenient as possible for our customers. Furthermore, the implementation of the technical measures will not incur costs for any customer. We emphasised this right from the start and it continues to apply.
There is no buy-back deal or compensation for drivers outside the US. That is because the relevant facts and complex legal issues that have played a role in coming to these agreements are materially different from those in Europe and other parts of the world.
The Department for Transport said it has taken ‘robust action’ to address concerns raised by the revelations.
A spokeswoman said: We take the unacceptable actions of Volkswagen extremely seriously, and we have taken robust action to protect the UK consumer. That is why we called for a Europe-wide investigation, and were the first country in Europe to complete our own tests to ensure the issue was not industry-wide. We continue to push the company to ensure they take action.
We led the way in pushing for the introduction of the Real Driving Emissions test that starts next year, which will ensure that emissions measurements reflect real-world performance, improve air quality and give consumers confidence. This new test is robust and will make a real difference. We are also starting further testing of products on the market and will set out more detail in due course.
Click here: to read the Transport Select Committee’s report in full.