As a result, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), of which Altroconsumo is a member, called for the automaker to compensate diesel-vehicle owners, and had some harsh words for Europe's largest automaker.
"Volkswagen justifies compensation payments to US consumers with the argument that their cars cannot be as easily fixed as in Europe," said Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC. "This excuse now seems to be built on sand." Volkswagen representatives weren't available for comment, according to Reuters.
Results like this could leave German regulators a bit red-faced. That's because the German Ministry of Transport last week said it wouldn't fine Volkswagen for emissions cheating and would simply require the automaker to return the vehicles to their owners in "legally compliant condition." By comparison, VW reached an agreement with US regulators requiring to pay diesel-vehicle owners as much as $10,000 each. The total tab for VW in the US may reach $15.3 billion.
About 2 million vehicles were impacted in Germany, compared to less than a half-million in the US, which some sources familiar with the process said may have had an impact on the lack of a fine. Take a look at the BEUC's statement here and below. Europe has about 8.5 million diesel vehicles that may need to be repaired because of the diesel-emissions scandal, which came to light last September.
European owners of a VW group car have even more reason to feel misled and unsettled following a test by Italian consumer group Altroconsumo, a BEUC member organisation. The test of an Audi Q5 after the removal of the defeat device revealed that NOx emissions were 25% higher than legal limits allow.
Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) commented:
"This is another blow for EU consumers and a new dimension of the VW scandal. This test by our Italian member clearly demonstrates that VW's solution to deactivate the defeat device is not reliable.
"It is imperative that the German testing agency who approved the fix, but also their national counterparts, urgently re-examine the solutions to repair the affected cars and that they publish these results. Consumers need to be 100% certain that their car will be in conformity with emission thresholds after the recall.
"Volkswagen justifies compensation payments to US consumers with the argument that their cars cannot be as easily fixed as in Europe. This excuse now seems to be built on sand. VW must compensate European consumers. This is the only possible way forward for VW to make up for this ongoing consumer detriment.
"National public authorities must finally take action and put pressure on VW to correct their misbehaviour."