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June 15, 2017

Extended warranty but no compo for Europe VW diesel owners

Volkswagen has agreed to offer an extra two year guarantee to European owners of its diesel cars but no compensation in talks with Europe's consumer affairs chief over its cheating on emissions tests, a European Commission spokesman has said.

Volkswagen has agreed to offer an extra two year guarantee to European owners of its diesel cars but no compensation in talks with Europe's consumer affairs chief over its cheating on emissions tests, a European Commission spokesman has said.

Reuters said EU officials had piled pressure on VW to compensate European customers after it admitted to US regulators in September 2015 it had cheated on emissions tests there using software installed in as many as 11m diesel vehicles sold worldwide – the majority of them in Europe.

Despite VW's admission of wrongdoing in the US, it said it has not broken the law in Europe and sees no need to compensate consumers here, the news agency added.

The commission spokesman said VW chief executive Matthias Mueller told the EU's commissioner for consumer affairs earlier this week the company would now offer European customers a two year extended warranty.

However, commenting on the talks with the commissioner, Vera Jourova, Volkswagen did not confirm that it had agreed to extend its guarantee, Reuters said. The company instead referred back to earlier "confidence-building measures" including a commitment to fix all vehicles affected by this autumn saying updating the software would not detract from the car's performance.

"Volkswagen has said all along that it cares for every customer," it said in an email to Reuters.

An extended warranty offer would be the first concession made by the company in response to mounting pressure from Brussels to do more for its diesel customers following months of talks with EU officials and more than a year after the 'dieselgate' scandal broke.

Reuters noted Jourova and other EU regulators have repeatedly expressed frustration over VW's attitude to European customers in not offering the cash payouts granted to US owners of its cars.

But the European Union is limited in what it can do to pressure the company since the power to police the car industry currently lies with member states which approve new car models that are then sold throughout the bloc.

Unlike the US, a patchwork of different legal rules across the Europe Union also weakens the chances of car owners successfully suing car makers, Reuters added.

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